Former 3% of Idaho leader pleads guilty to 19 cheating clients

Posted at 4:13 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-21 18:13:43-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A former leader of the militia group called 3% of Idaho has pleaded guilty to grand theft after he cheated 19 clients from his former property management company out of about $100,000, prosecutors said.

Brandon Curtiss, 45, pleaded guilty Nov. 13 to a felony count of grand theft, the Idaho Statesman reported Wednesday. Part of the plea agreement bars him from being allowed to possess firearms.

Curtiss was accused of stealing about $98,600 from former clients from his Meridian company, prosecutors said.

They agreed to drop additional grand theft charges in a plea deal, officials said. He was originally charged with one count of grand theft for each of the cheated clients, prosecutors said.

Curtiss is expected to provide restitution, but an amount has not been determined, attorneys said. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 2. He could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000, prosecutors said.

Curtiss, a former police officer in North Idaho, led a group of armed men that set up a security perimeter three years ago during a standoff at Oregon’s Malheur Wildlife Refuge, authorities said.

Curtiss came under public scrutiny after The Oregonian/Oregon Live newspaper in Portland ran a story on him during the standoff involving Ammon Bundy and others protesting the treatment of two ranchers convicted of federal land arson, the Statesman reported.

Curtiss told The Oregonian/Oregon Live that he had “built a property management company from scratch.”