ST. LOUIS – Two former employees in the St. Louis County municipality of Flordell Hills were indicted Wednesday for allegedly stealing several hundred thousand dollars over a six-year period, well over the city’s annual budget.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said Maureen Woodson, the former city clerk, and Donna Thompson, the former assistant 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 approximately six square blocks and has a population of about 800 people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 54% of its residents live below the poverty line.
Woodson, now 68, was hired in 2010; Thompson, now 75, in 2012. Both women were fired in May 2022 as a result of their crimes.
According to the indictment, the pair wrote 614 city checks to themselves totaling more than $531,000, without the authority or knowledge of the city’s mayor, treasurer, or board of aldermen. About 368 checks worth $376,026 were written to Woodson and 246 checks worth $155,329 were written to Thompson. Both women forged the signatures of the mayor and treasurer to authorize payment on the checks.
Prosecutors claim the women used the money to pay personal expenses and to gamble online or at local casinos.
In a separate scheme, Woodson and Thompson are accused of using $132,249 in city funds to pay personal expenses for retail and entertainment purchases, rent, restaurant trips, and taxes they owed to the IRS. They used city checks to pay those bills or used wire transfers of city funds.
Woodson and Thompson were each charged with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.