The North St. Louis County clerk and his assistant allegedly stole $660,000 | St. Louis metro news | Saint Louis

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Florida Hills City Council.

A grand jury today charged two former Flordell Hills municipal employees with stealing $663,000 from the small-town budget.

The people charged are Maureen Woodson, 68, a former city clerk, and Donna Thompson, 75, a former assistant city clerk. Both women are charged with two counts of email fraud and two counts of mail fraud, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The $663,000 stolen is more than the city’s average annual budget of about $450.00. Eight hundred residents call home in Flordale Hills. The poverty rate is 54%.

Between February 2016 and April 2022, Woodson and Thompson used two different schemes to “enrich themselves at the detriment of the struggling city,” according to the statement.

The first scheme involved Woodson and Thompson writing more than 600 checks for themselves and withdrawing more than $531,000 from Florida Hills coffers. They did so without the approval of the mayor, the city treasurer, or any other authority.

According to the US Attorney’s Office statement, “About 368 checks for $376,026 were written to Woodson and 246 checks for $155,329 were written to Thomson.”

The indictment alleges that Woodson and Thompson routinely forged the signatures of the mayor and treasurer.

In addition to paying for personal expenses, the accused women allegedly used the money to gamble, both online and in St. Louis area casinos.

Prosecutors say Woodson and Thompson’s second scheme involved them using just over $130,000 of the city’s money “to pay directly for personal expenses including retailer fees, entertainment, restaurants, their home rent, and taxes owed by them to the Internal Revenue Service.”

Expenses were paid either directly from Flordell Hills Bank checks or via wire transfers from city funds.

The case is being tried by Assistant US Attorney Hal Goldsmith, the same attorney general who handles cases against former St. Louis politicians Reed, Jeffrey Boyd and John Collins Muhammad.

Goldsmith describes the alleged actions of former city employees as a “disaster”.

Goldsmith says the alleged fraud came to the attention of federal authorities when the bank used by Flordell Hills became concerned about the nature of the city’s financial transactions.

Fraud and thefts were able to continue apace for six years in part because as a city clerk, Woodson was responsible for reconciling the city’s financial books.

“They stole nearly $700,000 from this small municipality and that had a real negative impact on the people of that town,” Goldsmith says. That is why it is a priority for the federal government.”

Both charges carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Woodson, a former city clerk, had been in Flordell Hills for 12 years. Thompson, a former assistant city clerk, has been in the city since 2010.

US Attorney Cyler Fleming said in a statement: “The amount of money at issue in this case is staggering, particularly from a small city with a significant population below the poverty line. Losing this money has meant that the city has sometimes been unable to pay its bills.”

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