A former executive director of the Make-A-Wish charity office in Iowa has been accused of embezzling thousands of dollars of public funds, raised to help sick children, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
Jennifer Woodley pleaded guilty last week, admitting that she had been wasting money from the organization’s credit card, was awarded an unapproved bonus, as well as salary increases and falsified financial records related to these expenses.
Woodley, 40, was charged with felony crimes, including first degree robbery and one count of fraudulent practices. A deal with prosecutors involves recommending a five-year probationary sentence, as well as fines and restitution.
The affidavit says Woodley stole nearly $ 41,000 and a court hearing is scheduled for July 20. The defendant is currently out on bail.
Her attorney, Nicholas Sarcone, said she would appeal a deferred sentence at sentencing, which means the case would be off Woodley’s record as long as she completes her probation and other parts of her sentence.
The Iowa office is located in the Urbandale area and is one of 60 Make-A-Wish America chapters that provides support and financial assistance to families with serious illnesses. Woodley began her criminal practice shortly after being named the group’s president and CEO in 2019. Last summer, she was fired following official investigations.
The foundation, in turn, said in a statement on law and crime that he is “pleased that the Iowa legal system has resolved this issue with an agreement that includes restitution.”
“As always, we remain committed to ensuring that donations to Make-A-Wish are protected and used appropriately to advance our vision of fulfilling the wishes of all eligible children battling critical illness,” the statement said.