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Press Release

Former Columbus School Employees Association treasurer pleads guilty to misappropriating funds, agrees to pay restitution

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The former treasurer of the Columbus School Employees Association (CSEA) pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court here today to misappropriating $60,685.92 in CSEA funds.

Phelton Woods, 72, of Reynoldsburg, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. Court documents say Woods wrote 359 unauthorized checks from the CSEA checking account to himself, which included forged signatures; wrote 16 unauthorized checks to a relative, who has no relation to the CSEA; and made 38 unauthorized cash withdrawals. The fraud took place between December 2009 and June 2016.

Woods agreed to pay restitution to CSEA’s insurance company. CSEA is a bargaining unit that is combined from 12 local unions within the Columbus City School District, which includes approximately 3,300 members.     

A federal grand jury indicted Woods in April 2022. Bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, but the Court will determine a sentence based on federal sentencing guidelines and the results of a pre-sentence investigation conducted by the court.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, announced the plea entered before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr. The United States Department of Labor Office of Labor Management Standards investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brenda Shoemaker is representing the United States.

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Updated July 26, 2023

Financial Fraud