Woman ordered to pay for stealing from children’s charity

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 4, 2022

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A former employee of a West Virginia nonprofit group that assists children and their families has been ordered to pay more than $4.65 million for stealing federal funds.

Ruth Marie Phillips, 69, of Chesapeake, Ohio, was ordered to pay the restitution Thursday in federal court in Huntington. In January she was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Phillips admitted in September that she stole more than $4.7 million from the River Valley Child Development Services in Huntington from December 2013 through August 2020. She worked at the organization for more than 30 years, was director of business and finance 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, prosecutors said.

Phillips previously agreed to forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of homes, airplanes and several vehicles.

“Phillips did great harm to the children and families she should have been supporting,” U.S. Attorney Will Thompson said in a statement.