Former employee pleads guilty to stealing from nonprofit

Published 2:39 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2021

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A former employee of a West Virginia nonprofit organization has pleaded guilty to theft of federal funds, officials said.

Ruth Marie Phillips, 69, of Chesapeake, admitted on Monday that she stole funding from the River Valley Child Development Services in Huntington, which provides programs and services to children and families, a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia said.

Phillips was director of business and finance at the organization for more than 30 years and was responsible for all financial operations, according to court records.

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The organization received more than $7 million in federal funding from July 2016 to June 2017 and Phillips used her position of trust and authority to steal nearly $1 million in that time span, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. She also admitted to stealing more than $4,7 million from the organization from December 2013 through August 2020, the statement said.

Phillips faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of at least $250,000, and restitution in the amount of $4.7 million. Her sentencing was set for Dec. 13.