Mary Jo Woodall gets probation in Jonestown wind energy fraud case – Austin American

December 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

A former program administrator for the Texas comptroller’s office has been sentenced to three years probation in a failed $1.8 million energy scheme that promised to bring wind power and green jobs to Jonestown.

Mary Jo Woodall, 57, pleaded guilty in November to a third-degree felony of misuse of information.

In Travis County court Friday, District Judge Karen Sage followed the terms of Woodall’s plea agreement and dismissed the initial charges against her: two higher first-degree offenses of fraudulently securing execution of a document worth more than $200,000.

The judge granted Woodall deferred adjudication on the third-degree felony. Under this type of probation, Woodall will not be convicted and her record will be sealed if she follows all the conditions of a supervised release.

If she does not, she will be subjected to the full range of punishment, up to 10 years in prison.

Court records say Woodall helped Charles Malouff, a longtime friend and ex-boyfriend, navigate through the grant process at her former office with a fraudulent application, allowing him to illegally obtain nearly $2 million in federal stimulus money for his company.

Sage in September sentenced Malouff, already a convicted felon on a weapons charge, to 15 years in prison after he was found guilty of falsifying documents to obtain the federal stimulus funds for a Jonestown wind energy operation. His sentence will run concurrently with a 2 1/2-year federal sentence he is serving for possession of firearms and destructive devices.

During that month-long trial, prosecutors said Malouff, a former law enforcement officer, used some of the money for trips with Woodall, as well as clothing and motorcycle accessories. According to authorities, Malouff wooed Jonestown officials — the city technically applied for the grant — with promises of $90,000 in annual energy savings, and made his project sound ready for construction, when in fact it was still in the research stages.

Outside the courtroom Friday, Woodall’s lawyer, Joe Turner, said Malouff lied to a lot of people, Woodall included. As an employee of the comptroller’s office, she was helpful to a lot of applicants and moved more than $200 million in grants without any improprieties, Turner said.

She did not know the extent of what Malouff was doing with the money, the lawyers said. “One thing I want to make very clear is that she never profited a penny from any of this,” Turner said.

For background on the case read here.

Follow Jazmine Ulloa on Twitter: @jazmineulloa

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