(The Center Square) – A former clerk of a small city in suburban St. Louis pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Monday to stealing $487,673 from the municipality.
Maureen Woodson, 68, admitted to one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel. Woodson and Donna Thompson, the former assistant city clerk of Flordell Hills, were indicted by a grand jury in August for stealing more than $663,000 over a six-year period.
Thompson, 75, pleaded not guilty but scheduled a change of plea for Tuesday, according to court records.
Woodson admitted she and Thompson wrote approximately 600 checks to themselves from February 2016 to April 2022. The mayor, treasurer and the board of aldermen of the city of fewer than 800 people did not know about the fraudulent activity. However, Woodson and Thompson forged the signature of the mayor or treasurer on the checks, according to the plea agreement.
Woodson was hired in 2010 and Thompson in 2012. The city terminated both in May.
The annual budget of Flordell Hills is approximately $400,000. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 54% of its residents live below the poverty line.
Court records stated Woodson and Thompson cashed some checks and deposited others into their personal bank accounts. They used the money for in-person and online gambling and for personal expenses, according to the plea agreement.
Woodson is scheduled to be sentenced on May 16 in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Each charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Woodson also is ordered to repay the money, according to the U.S. District Attorney.