Former Woodruff Arts employee headed to prison for embezzlement

The man who admitted embezzling more than $1.1 million while working for the Woodruff Arts Center was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday.

Ralph Clark, 42, of Ellenwood, was also ordered to pay approximately $1 million in restitution to the cultural arts organization and must serve three years on probation, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said.

“When the defendant embezzled over $1 million from the Woodruff Arts Center, he not only stole from the Arts Center, but the entire community served by the center,” Yates said in an emailed statement. “His greed and betrayal has fairly landed him in prison.”

Clark started working at the Woodruff Arts Center in 2004 as a heating and air conditioning mechanic and rose through the ranks over the next eight years. As director of facilities, Clark was authorized to approve vendor contracts up to $50,000, and investigators believe through this role he was able to steal the funds. He submitted invoices for bogus expenses and once checks were written from the center’s account, Clark deposited the funds to accounts he could access.

Clark pleaded guilty to embezzlement in April 2013.

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