Daily Reports




Former Non-Profit Director Charged With Theft Receives 30-year Probation Sentence in Guilty Plea Deal

The former Executive Director of the Carroll County Mental Health Advocates who is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the private non-profit over at least a two-year period – will not serve any jail time – following her “guilty” plea deal accepted in a Carroll County courtroom on Tuesday.

In January of 2024… about a month after Jodie Goodman was recognized as ‘Woman of The Year’ by the Carroll County Women Business Alliance – the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office began investigating allegations that Goodman had been misusing funds from the program. She was terminated from her position by the mental health advocates board of directors soon after.

The district attorney’s office on Tuesday said they are aware that “a theft occurred at least 150 times during a two-year period.”

The plea deal provides that thefts Goodman committed in 2022 would be considered one charge of theft by taking; a second charge of theft by taking would encompass the thefts committed in 2023.

Goodman had transferred CCMHA funding to debit cards – which she spent on personal items and gifts. She is alleged to have spent the non-profit’s funds on spray tans, nail salons, waxing, massages, gift cards, makeup, personal Amazon delivered to her home, DoorDash, food, and alcohol.

Goodman receives 30 years-probation (15 years per count). Goodman can see her probation time lessened significantly if she meets certain standards after 3 years.

Goodman is ordered to pay back more than $21k in restitution.

Goodman’s counsel – Villa Rica based attorney Mac Pilgrim spoke to WLBB Radio Tuesday evening. He said he believes that the deal agreed to by the prosecution, the defense and the judge in which Goodman avoids jail time – is typical of cases for clients accused of stealing similar amounts of funding – and having no history of theft or violence.

“In thefts of this nature, of this amount, generally speaking – unless the client has a particular history of theft or violence – probation sentences are common because the reason for probation sentences most times is that to make the victim whole. In this case – the county and the taxpayers, which I’m one, I live here and I pay taxes as well – is to make the victim whole and by paying back the $21 ,000 the county will be made financially whole for my client.

This has been a very, very hard time in her life. She has had, as I mentioned in court, she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She had been diagnosed with manic episodes. This has taken its toll on her, on her husband, on her family, on both of her children, both of whom were school-aged. And she is just now coming out of her manic state. She’s coming out of her very depressed state.

She admitted she did it. She never denied it. So I think people should get credit for coming forward and saying, yes, I did what you said I did, yes, I am guilty, and accepting the responsibility of that. So I think in that regard, this was, in fact, a fair plea.

I know there’s a lot of people – I’ve already seen some social media on this station’s Facebook page that people think differently of that, and they have a right to do that. However, I believe that this was, in fact, a fair plea, and I think it was fair to both sides. And the county will be made economically whole, which hopefully is what we want as a people – I think – is that we are not taken advantage of or made whole, and that’s going to happen. So I’m happy with it.”

The court revealed on Tuesday that Goodman’s family has already collected approximately 1-thousand dollars that would go towards the 21-thousand dollars required for restitution in this case.

Judge W. Travis Sakrison ruled that Goodman’s offenses would not fall under the First Offender Act… after hearing the victim-impact-statement presented by the victimized non-profit’s current chairman of the board.

Excerpts of the statement delivered by Debbie Neal are texted below:

“I have spent several weeks now trying to find my words—the words to express my shock, disappointment, hurt, frustration and anger for someone I once called a friend, someone I trusted, someone I considered and treated like family.

-For her, to be as close to me and my family as she was—all the while pretending deceiving, and stealing from me and the incredibly giving people of this town, sickens me in such a way that I can’t even begin to describe.

-To say I was shocked to learn that someone I THOUGHT I KNEW was taking money from those you vowed to help through mental health services is an understatement… There is NO excuse nor diagnosis for her actions, her behavior, and her deception to everyone in this county making us believe that she was honorable and trustworthy and the best of the best. Even going so far as to accept being honored as Woman of the Year, all the while padding her pockets with donated money.

-I am also extremely disappointed in those who participated and defended her actions and those who were willing to look the other way and try to cover this up.

-How do we rebuild from here? How do the members of this community trust our organization again? Her actions shredded our organization, pitted friends against friends, municipalities against one another and created a level of division like I have never seen. All for what? What was the end game?

-In the mean time those of us that truly have a heart for the ones that need our help—will still be here—rebuilding our organization from the ground up and we will make it better than it ever has been before, because we unlike you—do it because it’s the right thing to do for our fellow human beings who truly suffer from addiction and mental illness.”

Judge Sakrison did not say if Neal’s statement’s affected his decision to decline first offender status for Goodman.

WLBB Radio on Tuesday asked a Carroll County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson if investigators suspect other individuals may have played roles in this case. “It is an active investigation,” the spokesperson replied.


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