ST. LOUIS – A former employee in the St. Louis County municipality of Flordell Hills was sentenced Wednesday for stealing nearly $160,000 over several years, well over the city’s annual budget.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said Donna Thompson, the former assistant city clerk, and Maureen Woodson, the former city clerk, used two different schemes to steal from the struggling city and enrich themselves, leaving the city unable to pay its bills.

Flordell Hills is six square blocks and has a population of about 800 people, with an annual budget of approximately $400,000. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 54% of its residents live below the poverty line.

Woodson, 68, was hired in 2010; Thompson, 76, in 2012. Both women were fired in May 2022 as a result of their crimes and indicted in August 2022.

Thompson and Woodson both pleaded guilty in February 2023 to one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.

They admitted in court to writing 614 city checks to themselves totaling more than $651,000, without the authority or knowledge of the city’s mayor, treasurer, or board of aldermen. About 368 checks worth $487,673 were written to Woodson and 246 checks worth $159,903 were written to Thompson. Both women forged the signatures of the mayor and treasurer to authorize payment on the checks.

The women used the money to pay personal expenses and to gamble online or at local casinos.

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Thompson to a year and a day in federal prison. On Tuesday, Woodson was sentenced to 18 months. Both were also ordered to repay the money they stole.