The former city clerk of Flordell Hills, Missouri on Monday admitted stealing $487,673 from the small, struggling community.
Maureen Woodson, 68, pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel to one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. Woodson admitted that from roughly February 2016 to April 2022, she and the former assistant city clerk, Donna Thompson, wrote about 614 checks to themselves without the authority or knowledge of the mayor, the treasurer, or the board of aldermen. They forged the signature of the mayor and/or the treasurer on the checks, the plea agreement says.
Woodson and Thompson cashed some checks and deposited others into their personal bank accounts, the plea says. Woodson and Thompson used the money to gamble both in person and online, and for personal expenses, the plea agreement says. They also used city checks or wire transfers of city funds to directly pay the rent for their home in Florissant as well as for entertainment, their federal taxes, and expenses at restaurants and stores.
In her plea, Woodson admitted fraudulently obtaining $487,673.
Thompson has pleaded not guilty but has scheduled a change of plea on February 7, according to court records.
Woodson and Thompson, 75, were indicted in August.
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. She will also be ordered to repay the money.
Woodson was hired in 2010 and Thompson in 2012. Both women were terminated in May.
Flordell Hills is roughly six blocks square, has an annual budget of about $400,000, and a population of 724, according to the 2020 census. Approximately 53.9% of those residents live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith is prosecuting the case.