Clerks in Struggling Missouri Town Embezzled $663,000+ to Help Fund Gambling Addiction

The fraudulent scheme

Two clerks in a small Missouri town embezzled more than $663,000, with a lot of that money going towards one of their gambling addictions.

Former Flordell Hills city clerk Maureen Woodson and assistant city clerk Donna Thompson are the defendants in this case. Living together in a nearby town, they used the embezzled funds to gamble, as well as pay for meals, taxes, and rent, according to federal law enforcement officials.

wrote approximately 614 checks to themselves

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri estimated that the total amount embezzled reached $663,604. The clerks wrote approximately 614 checks to themselves between February 2016 and April 2022. Some of the checks were deposited into bank accounts, while others were cashed. They forged the signatures of the city treasurer and mayor.

A big story in a small town

The two women lost their jobs in May when their actions came to light. The indictment took place in August and they initially pled not guilty. A U-turn this week saw both women change their stance and plead guilty.

A city clerk typically is in charge of collecting revenue and paying bills for a city or town, meaning they have access to important bank accounts.

Flordell Hills is only home to around 1,200 people. The attorney’s office labeled it “a small, struggling” town that only has an annual budget in the region of $400,000. The majority of the people based there are said to be living in poverty.

Held accountable

The attorney for Maureen Woodson claimed that his client was remorseful for her actions and has accepted responsibility. Explaining the reasoning for the embezzlement, the attorney said: “Unfortunately, this case is an example of what can happen when you have a severe gambling addiction.”

Woodson is a 68-year-old widow who has no previous criminal history. She is receiving treatment for her gambling addiction and has completely cut out all forms of gambling. The gambling with the stolen funds was conducted both in person and online.

a fine of $250,000 and/or as much as 20 years in prison

Both women are facing a fine of $250,000 and/or as much as 20 years in prison. They also have to repay all of the stolen funds. The sentencing for the two women will take place on May 16 and May 17 for the wire and mail fraud charges.

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