DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The former CEO
of Make-A-Wish Iowa
has pleaded guilty to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the organization that helps sick children
and their families.
Jennifer Woodley admitted in a written guilty plea last week to making unauthorized charges on a foundation credit card, giving herself an unapproved bonus
and salary increases, and making false entries in foundation records related to those expenses.
Woodley, 40, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree theft and one count of fraudulent practices, all felonies, and prosecutors agreed to recommend five years of probation, as well as fines
and restitution, as part of a plea agreement.
Woodley allegedly embezzled nearly $41,000, according to the charging document, but restitution has yet to be determined.
The guilty pleas were accepted by Judge Scott Beattie on Tuesday, and a sentencing hearing was scheduled for July 20.
Woodley's attorney, Nicholas Sarcone, stated that he would request a deferred judgment at sentencing, which, if granted, would mean that the case would be expunged from her record as long as she completed her probation and other parts of her sentence.
The Iowa group, which is based in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, is one of 60 chapters of Make-A-Wish America, which provides support and memorable experiences to children with critical illnesses and their families.
The theft began shortly after Woodley was appointed president and CEO of the organization in 2019 and continued until the organization discovered financial irregularities during an internal compliance review last summer, at which point Woodley was fired and a criminal investigation
Woodley surrendered to face the charges in January and has been released on bond; her new address is listed as Winston Salem, North Carolina
, according to jail records.