UPDATE: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
A Harper County man facing felony charges of theft by deception has a agreed to enter a plea in the case.
Curtis Martineau is accused of lying to the residents Anthony - telling them that his wife Katherine was dying of cancer - in order to get donations from the community. Officials say Martineau later told the community that his wife and her unborn baby had died. He and Katherine, who is alive and well, then moved to Winfield.
Martineau appeared before a judge at a docket hearing at the Harper County courthouse on Tuesday. His attorney told the judge that his client has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. The terms of that agreement have not been disclosed.
Martineau is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 5. He could face prison time if convicted.
Katherine Martineau told authorities and KAKE News that she had no knowledge of her husband's alleged fraud. At this time, she is not facing any criminal charges.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The story seemed so sad. A Harper County man and father of five was watching his pregnant wife die of cancer.
In fact, he later said his wife did die.
When Curtis and Katherine Martineau moved to Anthony at the first of the year, the town embraced them. When Curtis announced his wife had terminal cancer, the community all came together to raise money only to find out a few months later, it was all a scam."
"Complete disbelief," said Anthony resident and donor Brandon Gerber.
His wife, Brenda, felt the same way when she found out. "I couldn't decide if I was angry or hurt," she said.
When the Gerbers of Anthony's Gerber Auction heard the story, of course, they said yes, whatever they could do.
"We were ready to help," said Brenda. "We will always to do that,and this community is awesome that way.'
Curtis Martineau had moved his family to Harper County to work for one of the oil companies.
"He needed time off and the work wouldn't give him the time off," said Sheriff Tracy Chance. "So he came up with the story that his wife had cancer."
And the lies didn't stop there. Martineau said his wife was pregnant and had only twelve months to live. Like small communities do, a fundraiser was set up and a golf tournament. All the money was to go to the family. The paper published an ad hoping to get more donations.
A week before the auction in August, Martineau announced his wife Katherine and their unborn child had died. The benefit raised $17,000.
"We went to present him with the money, and wow, talk about an oscar award," Brandon Gerber said. "He was crying and explaining how his wife's remains were sent back to Utah where they were from."
Last week it all came to an end when authorities in Utah contacted the Harper County Sheriff. They were looking for Curtis Martineau on a felony warrant. When officers arrived at his house, where he moved to in Winfield, there was Katherine Martineau, alive and well, holding the couple's ten month old baby.
"She seemed kinda shocked when I explained the situation to her," said Sheriff Chance. "I explained the he had told everybody she had passed away. That's when she got pretty upset."
The sheriff says Curtis Martineau confessed, but the investigation continues. At this point Katherine Martineau hasn't been arrested.
"Curtis Martineau will be charged with theft by deception which is a felony. Depending on his criminal history he could spend time in prison."