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Press Release

Former Employee of Huntington Non-Profit Charged with Theft of Federal Funds

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

Phillips allegedly converted over $4.7 million of organization’s funds

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston announced today the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging Ruth Marie Phillips, also known as Marie Phillips, 68, of Chesapeake, Ohio, with theft of federal funds from River Valley Child Development Services (“RVCDS”).  Phillips was arrested today and appeared in federal court in Huntington before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl A. Eifert.

RVCDS is a non-profit organization located in Huntington. RVCDS receives federal funding in excess of $10,000 in any one year and also receives state funding.  RVCDS provides programs, services and support to children, families and the early childhood community.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Phillips worked as the Director of Business and Finance at RVCDS from approximately December 1, 1986 to on or about September 1, 2020.  During this time, Phillips was responsible for all financial operations, including monitoring accounts receivable, creating and submitting invoices, reconciling bank accounts and issuing checks.  The criminal complaint alleges that on or about April 2, 2002, Phillips opened a BB&T bank account under the name RVCDS without permission from RVCDS.  Phillips listed her home address on the bank account and used it to knowingly convert approximately $4.72 million of RVCDS funds to her own use.

The criminal complaint further alleges that Phillips used the embezzled money for her own personal use and to fund Attitude Aviation, a full-service fixed-base operator authorized to provide aeronautical services, including fueling, rental of hangar space, aircraft rental, flight instruction and maintenance.  Attitude Aviation has offices at Lawrence County Airpark in South Point, Ohio, and Tri-State Airport in Huntington.  Phillips owns Attitude Aviation with at least two other people.

The allegations contained in the criminal complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. 

If convicted, Phillips faces up to ten years in federal prison.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the West Virginia State Police are conducting the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Kristin F. Scott and Kathleen Robeson are handling the prosecution.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:21-mj-00034.



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Updated April 8, 2021