The former CEO of the Make-A-Wish Iowa branch has confessed to embezzling $41,000 from the charity that grants wishes to children with cancer and other terminal illnesses.

40-year-old mother-of-two Jennifer Woodley pleaded guilty this week to two counts of first-degree theft and one felony count of fraudulent practices, according to the Associated Press.

Woodley became CEO and president of Make-A-Wish Iowa in 2019. She admitted to giving herself an unapproved bonus and salary increases. She also charged the foundation credit card for personal use without authorization and made false entries into the organization’s records for those items.

Before Woodley became CEO, her family was a recipient of the foundation when a family member was granted a trip to Walt Disney World.

Judge Scott Beattie accepted her guilty pleas, online court records show.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a sentence of five years of probation, fines and restitution.

Her sentencing is scheduled for July 20. Restitution has not yet been set.

According to the Associated Press, Woodley’s attorney will ask for a deferred judgment at her sentencing, which would expunge the case from her record if she finishes probation and pays the fines and restitution.

The embezzlement came to light about a year after Woodley became CEO of Make-A-Wish Iowa in Urbandale in August 2019.

She and her husband, Matt Woodley, had moved to Urbandale for his job as assistant coach for Drake University’s basketball team.

In October 2019, just months after she started her new job, Woodley gave herself an unapproved bonus of $10,000.

Woodley added her bonus to a list of bonuses for other employees that had been approved by the board, which totaled $15,540.

Woodley also spent $23,000 on 84 purchases for personal use over a period of 10 months.

In the summer of 2020, Make-A-Wish Iowa found “financial irregularities” during a compliance review.

Woodley was dismissed from her job soon after, in July 2020. On January 21, 2021, Woodley was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree theft and the unauthorized use of a credit card.

She was booked into the Polk County Jail and then released on bond.

In September 2020, she and her family moved to Winston-Salem, N.C., where her husband is a coach at Wake Forest University.

20 thoughts on “Make-A-Wish CEO Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Funds for Sick Children”
  1. Sentence not good enough! It’s one thing to be a thief, but to steal from dying children is way over the top! I hope when she meet her maker I get to see that selfish bitch go down in flames personally.

  2. What a scum bag, to steal money meant to help children!!!! Unbelievable, and to let her off and have her charges expunged if she pays her fines. WTF is this judge doing letting her off so easy. That is what is wrong with this society, nobody is held accountable for their actions because judges & lawyers let them off!!!! These are very sick children that she stole from! And the judge and lawyers let her off from this horrendous crime! What a joke these people of our country are becoming!

  3. This pisses me off,because I have given to this, quite a bit, but I’m dam sure done giving, after reading this crap.

  4. Why don’t you go after Biden and his wife who stole 4 million from cancer research. they ask for donations , collected 4 million dollars and put it in their pockets instead of giving it to cancer research. and no one did anything to them.

  5. why leave a comment when you decide because it is about the criminal Bidens you refuse to publish it.

  6. Make her pay 3 (three) times what she admits to taking as she probably took more over her time in the offices.

  7. There is no legitimate reason to ever expunge her record. It should be retained to insure she will never placed in authority over trust funds in the future with out unsuspecting parties aware of her culpabilities. Should also receive a severe mandatory prison sentence.

  8. She should go to prison for the max. amount of time permitted by law. No probation and no reason to ever expunge her criminal record. She was trusted, but stole from the kids she should have been helping. Hope she looks better in prison garb.

  9. That sucks. Sadly, charitable foundations are somewhat vulnerable to such things. Not just those getting in intending to steal, but some start with good intentions, then can’t handle temptation.
    I had an experience there, ran onto her sometime later and we talked. She’s still on probation, but I forgave her, for both of us.

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