The news was confirmed by law enforcement officials who have investigated the case and have collected enough evidence against the now-former city clerk and assistant clerk of Flordell Hills. The pair lived together in neighboring Florissant and are said to have embezzled as much as $663,604.
The theft happened over 614 checks that the culprits approved to themselves and used the money to gamble and “entertain themselves” as well as cover bills, such as rent and tax payments. The two women are believed to have forged the signatures of the mayor and city treasurer on the checks and then taken the money to spend on in-person and online gambling, for the most part.
Big Hit to Flordell Hills’ Economy
The matter is even more serious when factoring in that Flordell Hills has an annual budget of $400,000 with many of its 724 inhabitants living below the poverty line. The two women have now reportedly struck a plea deal after they were indicted in August, following their removal from the job in May.
Maureen Woodson and Donna Thompson, the city and assistant city clerk respectively, accepted the allegations against them, the Kansas City Star reported and reached a plea deal. Woodson’s lawyer has insisted that his client, 68, has had no previous criminal record and also attending gambling addiction therapy. Woodson admitted to defrauding the city of $487,673.
Based on her admission of guilt in the plea deal, Woodson admitted that 368 of the checks were made specifically to her. Both Thomson and Woodson were seen as trusted employees and an important part of the town’s day-to-day and financial life.
Woodson was hired in 2010 and Thompson in 2012. Both were terminated in May 2022. Woodson is due to appear for sentencing this May. She faces a fine to the tune of $250,000 and may be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison. Authorities have said that Woodson will also have to repay the city the missing amount.