The former executive director of a Make-A-Wish chapter in Iowa has pleaded guilty to charges of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the charity that supports sick children and their families.
Jennifer Woodley admitted in a written plea last week that she made unauthorized charges on a foundation credit card, gave herself an unapproved bonus and salary increases, and made false entries in the foundation’s records. related to those expenses.
Woodley, 40, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of fraudulent practices, all felonies. Under a plea deal, prosecutors will recommend a sentence of five years of probation, along with fines and restitution.
A charging document alleges that Woodley’s embezzlement amounted to nearly $ 41,000, but restitution has yet to be established.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 20.
Woodley’s attorney, Nicholas Sarcone, said he would ask for a deferred trial on sentencing. If granted, that means the case would be expunged from his record, provided Woodley completes his probation and the other parts of his sentence.
Based in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, the Iowa group is one of 60 chapters of Make-A-Wish America, providing support and memorable experiences for critically ill children and their families.
The theft began shortly after Woodley became the group’s president and CEO in 2019 and continued until the group uncovered financial wrongdoing during an internal compliance review last summer. It was then that the organization fired Woodley and sought a criminal investigation.
Woodley turned himself in to face the charges in January and has been released on bail. Jail records listed his new address as Winston Salem, North Carolina.