The former chief executive at United Way of Santa Rosa County (UWSRC) was sentenced to 51 months in prison for stealing $650,000 from the organization. The thefts, in part, resulted in the chapter going under and closing.
Guyland W. Thompson, 65, who was a mayor of Milton, Fla., for 20 years and affiliated with the chapter for nearly 40 years, admitted to 20 counts of wire fraud and three counts of tax evasion in federal court in a case brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida.
According to prosecutors, $211,868 had been seized from Thompson’s bank accounts with an additional judgement of $430,132. Thompson devised a complex scheme where he kept a portion of money intended for use to pay UWSRC’s regular bills and expenses by replacing it with other donation checks no one at the United Way agency knew about. By conducting a series of complicated financial transactions to cover his tracks, Thompson embezzled more than $650,000.
Thompson maintained his scheme by making fraudulent misrepresentations to United Way of Santa Rosa County board members and employees, United Way Worldwide and bank personnel, according to prosecutors. He took steps to prevent internal or external audits from occurring that would have uncovered his fraud. He also failed to report to the IRS the extra income from his embezzlement scheme, which ranged from approximately $86,000 to $99,000 a year.
Thompson was fired in October 2018 after an internal audit and FBI investigation into the organization’s finances. He had been with the organization two decades and was mayor of Milton for 20 years. United Way Worldwide pulled the organization’s affiliation in March 2019. The organization announced all money from payroll deductions it received during 2019 would be returned to donors.
United Way of Escambia County announced it would expand services into Santa Rosa County.