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Former CEO of Make-A-Wish Iowa pleads guilty to stealing funds from organization

Posted at 8:02 AM, Jun 03, 2021

DES MOINES, Iowa — The former CEO of Make-A-Wish 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 guilty plea last week that she made unauthorized charges on a foundation credit card, gave herself unapproved bonus and salary increases and made false entries in foundation records.

The 40-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree theft and one count of fraudulent practices.

Under a plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a sentence of five years of probation, along with fines and restitution.

A charging document alleged that Woodley’s embezzlement totaled nearly $41,000, but the amount of restitution has not yet been set.

A judge has scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 20.

The Associated Press reports that theft began shortly after Woodley became Make-A-Wish Iowa's president and CEO in 2019. The group reportedly discovered irregularities last summer during a compliance review.

Make-A-Wish Iowa is one of 60 chapters of the nationwide organization that offers trips and experiences to families of sick children.