Home News Man Pleads Guilty to 1 Million in Embezelment Funds from Republican Campaigns

Man Pleads Guilty to 1 Million in Embezelment Funds from Republican Campaigns


Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has released a statement in response to the guilty plea entered by William Curlis, the treasurer accused of embezzling $1 million in campaign funds from over 100 local, state, and federal Republican campaigns. The plea was made in federal court.

LaRose’s statement emphasizes the collaborative effort between his office’s public integrity division and federal law enforcement officials in pursuing the case. He asserts that the guilty plea serves as a testament to the commitment to hold accountable those who unlawfully divert money or manipulate votes from Ohioans.

According to the court documents, from 2008 until June 2023, Curlis defrauded candidates of approximately $995,231 of campaign funds.

Curlis allegedly wrote checks from the bank accounts of certain candidates and one PAC to himself for personal use. It is alleged the defendant transferred funds between campaign accounts without candidates’ knowledge to conceal the deficit he created.

Curlis sold his home in 2016, allegedly to cover the cost of campaign expenses, to include campaign media costs and account balances, to prevent the discovery of his theft.

“As the campaign treasurer and only signatory on numerous bank accounts, Curlis took advantage of his trusted position and wrote checks to himself from the accounts of multiple candidates and one PAC,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “I urge candidates, PACs, and businesses alike to protect themselves from future fraud by examining their accounting processes for vulnerabilities and other blind spots. Embezzlement is often committed by persons who take advantage of the victim’s trust, and I encourage everyone to reassess from time to time the safeguards they have in place.”

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, LaRose points out that the true victims are the individuals who contributed their hard-earned money to support political candidates, only to have it misappropriated. The incident serves as a poignant reminder for candidates to remain vigilant about their financial records and to scrutinize every aspect of their campaign finances. LaRose underscores the importance of candidates actively monitoring their financial statements and encouraging treasurers to provide detailed explanations for every transaction.

Furthermore, LaRose notes a recurring pattern where candidates place unwavering trust in the accuracy and honesty of campaign finance reports filed on their behalf. He urges candidates to adopt a stance of cautious trust while simultaneously exercising due diligence by verifying the accuracy of financial records through audits, inquiries, and tip-offs.

In conclusion, LaRose’s statement serves as a stark warning to those involved in political campaigns, emphasizing the necessity of vigilance and accountability in safeguarding campaign funds against fraudulent activities.

This statement was issued by the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State and reflects their official stance on the matter.