Ex-finance chief ordered to return $4.7 million she stole from children’s charity to acquire fleet of planes, homes and a Corvette

The previous finance director at a West Virginia children’s charity had been ordered to pay out back again $4.7 million she stole from the nonprofit and utilized to buy a fleet of airplanes, a lakeshore home and a Corvette.

Ruth Marie Phillips, 69, pleaded responsible in September 2021 and was sentenced to seven yrs in jail in January for the scheme in which she steered the dollars from River Valley Child Advancement Providers into an aviation organization she ran on the side and into her own pockets.

Prosecutors said Phillips had labored for the charity, which supplies child care products and services and food applications around West Virginia funded mainly by federal government grants, dating again to 1986. She eventually grew to become the charity’s director of business enterprise and finance, and began stealing the revenue in 2013 right up until she was fired in 2020.

For the duration of that time, prosecutors explained Phillips directed $1.14 million into her individual private checking account and $3.4 million into the lender account of Angle Aviation, a modest aircraft constitution and aviation expert services firm she owned and operated at airports in Ohio and Huntington, West Virginia.

In one 12 months, Phillips siphoned off approximately 16% of the $7.1 million in grants the nonprofit received, prosecutors explained.

“Phillips did fantastic hurt to the young children and people she should really have been supporting,” said Will Thompson, the U.S. legal professional for the southern district of West Virginia. “I commend our law enforcement companions and my personnel for their pursuit of justice in this circumstance.”

Phillips’ lawyer did not promptly reply to a concept seeking remark. In a court filing, Phillips acknowledged she had stolen an exorbitant amount of cash, but mentioned she did it mostly to help the aviation enterprise for her spouse and her son. 

 She also claimed she had battled liquor habit for a long time immediately after her husband — a Vietnam veteran who experienced from PTSD — fully commited suicide in the late 1990s.

Prosecutors explained that as portion of Phillips’ restitution arrangement, she experienced agreed to forfeit $602,000 from the sale of 6 airplanes, $305,000 from the sale of her house on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia and $170,000 from the sale of a property in West Virginia and a different in Chesapeake, Ohio. She also was ordered to forfeit her Lexus RX and Chevrolet Corvette.

In court paperwork, prosecutors said the “reprehensible” theft triggered households to not receive the help they would have gotten had the cash not been stolen and resulted in some staff of the charity losing their jobs.

“Her criminal offense demonstrates a absence of empathy, as well as a cold willingness to acquire advantage of other individuals when they were being susceptible and dependent on her,” prosecutors argued in court papers.  

A message left with officials at River Valley Little one Advancement Services was not immediately returned.