A former CEO from the charitable organisation Make-A-Wish's office in Iowa has been accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from public funds, collected to help ill children, the Associated Press reported on Wednsaday.
Jennifer Woodley pleaded guilty last week, admitting that she had been wasting money from the organisation's credit card, granted herself an unapproved bonus, as well as salary increases and falsified financial records related to these expenditures.
Woodley, 40, was charged with felonies, including first-degree theft and one count of fraudulent practices. A deal with the prosecutors implies a recommendation of 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 20 July. The defendant is currently released on bail.
Her lawyer, Nicholas Sarcone, said he would appeal for a deferred judgment at sentencing, which supposes that the case would be off Woodley's record as long as she completes her probation and other parts of her sentence.
The office in Iowa is located in the Urbandale area and is one of the 60 chapters of Make-A-Wish America that provides support and financial aid for families with serious diseases. Woodley started her criminal practice shortly after being appointed the group's president and CEO in 2019. Last summer, she was fired following official investigations.
The foundation, in turn, said in a statement to Law&Crime that it is "pleased the Iowa legal system resolved this matter with an agreement that includes restitution".
"As always, we remain committed to ensuring that donations to Make-A-Wish are safeguarded and properly used to advance our vision of granting the wish of every eligible child fighting a critical illness", the statement says.