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Press Release

Former United Way of Santa Rosa County Head Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Money from Charity and Tax Evasion

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Florida

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Guyland W. Thompson, 65, of Milton, pleaded guilty today to twenty counts of wire fraud and three counts of tax evasion stemming from his embezzlement of funds from United Way of Santa Rosa County (“UWSRC”).  Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the guilty plea.

His sentencing hearing is currently set for July 29, 2019, at 1:00 p.m.  The government intends to forfeit all proceeds of Mr. Thompson’s fraud, including approximately $221,000 that has already been seized from his bank accounts.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Forbes is prosecuting the case after a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

Between at least 2011 and 2018, Thompson embezzled money belonging to UWSRC while he was employed as its Executive Director.  Thompson devised a complex scheme where he kept a portion of money intended for use to pay UWSRC’s regular bills and expenses by replacing it with other donation checks no one at UWSRC knew about.  By conducting a series of complicated financial transactions to cover his tracks, Thompson embezzled over $650,000 from UWSRC.

Thompson maintained his scheme by making fraudulent misrepresentations to UWSRC’s board members and employees, its parent nonprofit United Way Worldwide, and bank personnel.  He also took steps to prevent internal or external audits of UWSRC from occurring that would have uncovered his fraud.  Thompson then failed to report to the Internal Revenue Service the extra income from his embezzlement scheme, which ranged from approximately $86,000 to $99,000 in a given year.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit


Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer

Updated May 9, 2019

Financial Fraud