Robert William Woods, who was indicted in December on a charge of felony embezzlement by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, turned himself in at the Lee County Courthouse on Tuesday morning, The Rant has learned.
The case involves Woods, 46, and his stewardship of the Wilrik Hotel’s governing body, the nonprofit Sanford Affordable Housing Development Corporation.
The nonprofit reported to Sanford police in 2017 that someone had taken more than $100,000 from its fund between June 1, 2016 – the same date the Woods-led SAHDC assumed sole ownership of the building following a lengthy and confusing back and forth between the private nonprofit and the federally-funded Sanford Housing Authority – and August of 2017.
According to the indictment, Woods “did embezzle and fraudulently and knowingly misapply and convert to his own use … United States currency, belonging to the Sanford Affordable Housing Development Corporation,” of which he was “the agent, officer, servant and fiduciary.”
Public documents show Woods turned himself in around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday with an attorney present. He was initially held without bond pending a hearing, after which bail was set at $300,000 secured. His next court appearance is set for February 17.
Prior to serving as a director for the SAHDC, Woods spent time on the board of the Sanford Housing Authority following a nomination by Sanford City Councilman Charles Taylor. He wasn’t reappointed to the board after a 2014 shakeup surrounding an attempt by some of its members to hire a director who had a felony record.
Woods has been at the center of local controversy more than once in recent years.
In March of 2017, The Sanford Herald reported that Woods blamed the city’s streetscape improvements for water damage which occurred in the Wilrik building. Woods apparently attempted to bill the city for the damage, but a claim against the city’s insurance carrier was denied. Sources have told The Rant that Wilrik representatives never pushed the claim further.
Woods also reported in March of 2015 that a bus owned by his transportation nonprofit the Woolford House had been vandalized with a racial epithet. No perpetrator has ever been identified, and the nonprofit’s bus remained parked behind the movie theater on Spring Lane for several more years. It had been moved sometime prior to early December.
It was unclear at the time of the indictment’s issuance whether Woods remained in the area. The North Carolina State Board of Elections at that time showed him registered to vote at a Sanford address, but he had not participated in any elections since 2016. When he turned himself in Tuesday, he listed an address on Brookhaven Drive near the Jonesboro area of Sanford.