Wife of alleged Pappy Van Winkle bourbon theft ringleader takes plea deal

Julie Curtsinger
Julie Curtsinger

The wife of the alleged ringleader in the theft of more than $100,000 worth of bourbon from Central Kentucky distilleries has accepted a plea deal on a couple of drug-related charges.

In Franklin Circuit Court, Julie Curtsinger, 45, entered an Alford plea, meaning that she did not admit wrongdoing but accepted that there is sufficient evidence against her for a conviction.

She, her husband Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger, 46, and seven other people were indicted last year on charges of operating a criminal syndicate that trafficked in bourbon and anabolic steroids. Prosecutors say the syndicate was involved in the theft of rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort and Wild Turkey in Anderson County.

Last week, Julie Curtsinger entered the Alford plea to possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance (anabolic steroid). The original felony counts punishable by up to five years in prison were reduced to misdemeanors in the plea agreement.

In March 2015, a search warrant was executed at the Frankfort home of the Curtsingers. Inside the house, police found numerous firearms, anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, a large quantity of cash and needles to inject steroids. Specifically, steroid tablets were found inside a silver heart-shaped jewelry box; the steroids and paraphernalia were allegedly provided by Curtsinger’s husband, according to the plea agreement.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Zach Becker recommended that Julie Curtsinger serve a year in jail.

Becker took no position on probation and left that to the discretion of the court. However, if Julie Curtsinger fails to appear for sentencing, fails to remain drug-free or receives any additional charges, Becker will oppose probation.

Julie Curtsinger won’t be sentenced until the completion of the prosecution in her husband’s case, Becker said.

In a statement, Becker said: “The resolution reached in this matter was part of ongoing discussions over several months between myself and Mrs. Curtsinger’s counsel that I believe is appropriate to her limited knowledge and involvement in an otherwise large and elaborate scheme.”