Second Clerk Sentenced for Stealing from Struggling North St. Louis County Municipality
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri
ST. LOUIS – The former assistant city clerk of Flordell Hills, Missouri was sentenced Wednesday to a year and a day in federal prison for stealing $159,903 from the struggling city.
U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel also ordered Donna Thompson, 76, to repay the money.
Thompson is the second former employee of Flordell Hills to be sentenced this week for stealing from the city, which is roughly six blocks square, has an annual budget of about $400,000 and a population of about 800. More than half of those residents live below the poverty line.
On Tuesday, Judge Sippel sentenced the former city clerk, Maureen Woodson, 68, to 18 months in prison and ordered her to repay the $487,673 that she stole.
Both women wrote roughly 614 city checks to themselves from about February 2016 to April 2022, forging the signature of the mayor and/or treasurer and either cashing the checks or depositing them into their personal bank accounts. The mayor, the treasurer and the board of aldermen had no knowledge of the checks being written on city accounts. Woodson and Thompson used the cash for personal expenses and gambled the rest away. On about 381 occasions, Woodson and Thompson used Flordell Hills funds to directly pay for their own personal expenses, by either writing checks or wiring city funds directly to third party vendors for entertainment, restaurants, home rental payments, and personal taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service.
Due to the financial difficulties caused by the women’s embezzlement, city officials at times did not take salaries, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith said. There was not enough money for road maintenance and other vital city services. Mayor Joe Noeth and other volunteers mowed overgrown areas of the city and cleared streets and roads when they were blocked by downed trees or limbs.
Woodson and Thompson were terminated in May of 2022, after the embezzlement was discovered. Woodson had been working at the city since 2010. Thompson was hired in 2012.
Woodson and Thompson each pleaded guilty in February to one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith prosecuted the case.
Updated May 17, 2023