IOWA CITY, Iowa (WHO/AP) -- The former CEO of Make-A-Wish Iowa has been arrested and charged with first-degree theft and unauthorized use of a credit card, jail records show.
Jennifer Woodley, 40, was booked at the Polk County Jail in Des Moines on Thursday evening and released.
The Make-A-Wish Iowa organization announced last summer that it had discovered financial irregularities during a compliance review and that Woodley had been dismissed after serving as CEO for one year. In July, the group's board said it was working to determine the extent of the irregularities and that additional steps might be taken following Woodley's termination.
The Des Moines Register reports Woodley allegedly embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from the charity, the group confirmed Friday. Months after becoming Make-A-Wish Iowa's leader, Woodley secretly awarded herself a $10,000 bonus in October 2019 that had not been approved by the board, according to criminal complaints unsealed Friday. The bonus, which Woodley added to a list of legitimate bonuses earned by other employees, cost the organization $15,540 in all, police said.
Woodley also made 84 unauthorized purchases on an organization credit card that were for her personal use, totaling more than $23,000 over a 10-month span, the complaints state. Woodley allegedly did not reimburse the group for those expenses, according to the Register.
The Des Moines Register reported in July 2020 one of Woodley's daughters received a wish to go to Walt Disney World Resort prior to Woodley's announcement as CEO, according to a Make-A-Wish news release. Both of Woodley's daughters have required brain surgery.