Kentucky man who defrauded local art organisations gets prison time

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Kentucky resident Charles Davis has been found guilty of defrauding two local arts organisations, the ArtWorks Community Arts Education Center in Jamestown and Russell County Arts Council (RCAC) in Russell Springs. Through his position as a treasurer between 2017 and 2020, Davis was able to wire more than $340,000 from the non-profit organisations to personal credit card and bank accounts. Last week, a district court sentenced Davis to restitute all funds and serve more than two years in prison for the crimes.

The case was investigated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) due to Davis’s wire transfer of arts organisation funds to credit card and PayPal accounts across state lines. Court documents charging Davis with fraud indicate his transfers of funds from ArtWorks began in 2017, while transfers from Russell County Arts Council and interstate wire transfers began in 2019. Adding up all instances of theft between 2017 and 2020, Davis was found to have stolen $116,688.57 from RCAC, and $224,142.79 from ArtWorks.

Following the discovery of his fraud, Davis embarked on four separate cruises outside of the United States, visiting Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Davis was apprehended by the FBI as he disembarked from a Carnival cruise ship in 2022.

Following a recommendation that he remain on probation for five years to better pay restitution, prosecutor Madison Sewell pushed instead for prison time, saying Davis “had shown no remorse and made no effort to repay the thefts despite his six-figure salary”. Davis has since pleaded guilty and been sentenced to two years and three months of prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Both the organisations Russell defrauded provide education and community resources for their local communities, focusing on services for children as well as programmes for young artists.

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