The former finance director at a West Virginia children’s charity experienced been ordered to pay back $4.7 million she stole from the nonprofit and used to obtain a fleet of airplanes, a lakeshore residence and a Corvette.
Ruth Marie Phillips, 69, pleaded guilty in September 2021 and was sentenced to seven yrs in jail in January for the scheme in which she steered the funds from River Valley Boy or girl Improvement Solutions into an aviation business enterprise she ran on the facet and into her individual pockets.
Prosecutors claimed Phillips had labored for the charity, which gives boy or girl treatment providers and foodstuff courses all over West Virginia funded generally by government grants, relationship back again to 1986. She inevitably became the charity’s director of organization and finance, and began stealing the revenue in 2013 right until she was fired in 2020.
In the course of that time, prosecutors mentioned Phillips directed $1.14 million into her possess individual examining account and $3.4 million into the financial institution account of Mind-set Aviation, a small aircraft constitution and aviation solutions firm she owned and operated at airports in Ohio and Huntington, West Virginia.
In a single calendar year, Phillips siphoned off virtually 16% of the $7.1 million in grants the nonprofit been given, prosecutors explained.
“Phillips did good harm to the children and families she ought to have been supporting,” mentioned Will Thompson, the U.S. legal professional for the southern district of West Virginia. “I commend our law enforcement associates and my workers for their pursuit of justice in this circumstance.”
Phillips’ lawyer didn’t right away answer to a information searching for comment. In a courtroom filing, Phillips acknowledged she had stolen an exorbitant quantity of dollars, but explained she did it largely to assistance the aviation company for her husband or wife and her son.
She also mentioned she experienced battled liquor addiction for years soon after her spouse — a Vietnam veteran who endured from PTSD — fully commited suicide in the late 1990s.
Prosecutors reported that as component of Phillips’ restitution arrangement, she had agreed to forfeit $602,000 from the sale of six airplanes, $305,000 from the sale of her residence on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia and $170,000 from the sale of a home in West Virginia and yet another in Chesapeake, Ohio. She also was purchased to forfeit her Lexus RX and Chevrolet Corvette.
In courtroom paperwork, prosecutors said the “reprehensible” theft brought on households to not receive the support they would have gotten experienced the money not been stolen and resulted in some workers of the charity shedding their work opportunities.
“Her crime demonstrates a lack of empathy, as very well as a cold willingness to get gain of other individuals when they were susceptible and dependent on her,” prosecutors argued in court docket papers.
A message remaining with officers at River Valley Child Progress Products and services was not right away returned.