Former Make-A-Wish Iowa CEO Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Funds

The former CEO of the Iowa branch of the Make-A-Wish Foundation has pleaded guilty to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the charity, which helps children with serious medical conditions such as cancer.

According to court records viewed by E! News, Jennifer Woodley, 40, submitted a written guilty plea to two counts of first-degree theft and one count of fraudulent practices on May 27 and a judge accepted it on Tuesday, June 1. She admitted in her filing that she made unauthorized charges on a charity credit card, gave herself an unapproved bonus and salary increases and made false entries into records related to those expenses, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday, June 2.

“We appreciate that the Iowa legal system resolved this matter with an agreement that includes restitution,” Make-A-Wish said in a statement to E! News on Thursday, June 3. “As always, we remain committed to ensuring that donations to Make-A-Wish are safeguarded and properly used to advance our vision of granting the wish of every eligible child fighting a critical illness.”

Woodley allegedly embezzled almost $41,000 since she became the president and CEO of the Iowa branch of the national charity in 2019, the Associated Press said. In July 2020, the group dismissed her after discovering financial irregularities during an internal compliance review.

Prosecutors are set to recommend Woodley be put on probation for five years under a plea deal, the Associated Press said on Wednesday. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for July 20.


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