Hall County Solicitor Stephanie Woodard faces multiple felony charges after FOX 5 I-Team probe

A grand jury has indicted Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard on multiple charges of theft by taking and false statements. 

Woodard's 24-count indictment, unsealed Tuesday afternoon, follows a year and a half of investigations by the FOX 5 I-Team into her spending. 

SEE ALSO: Employees claim toxic work environment created by solicitor under GBI investigation

Hall County Solicitor Stephanie Woodard indicted

She stands accused of using government funds as a personal piggy bank, but Woodard says it's the Georgia Attorney General's Office who is wasting taxpayer dollars by bringing a case against her. 

Woodard, a Republican, became Hall County's solicitor in 2008, prosecuting low-level crimes such as DUIs and simple battery. Now, she's defending herself against far more serious allegations that, while prosecuting misdemeanors, she committed felonies. 

Stephanie Woodard

Stephanie Woodard (Hall County Sheriff’s Office)

The Hall County grand jury accused her of 13 counts of false statements and writings and 11 counts of theft by taking, all felonies. In total, she's accused of illegally taking nearly $4,200 from public coffers.

It is a staggering fall from grace by a top prosecutor.

But Woodard is pushing back. In a statement released by her attorneys, Marissa Goldberg and Drew Findling, they wrote: 

"The decision by the Attorney General’s Office to institute charges against her in this absurd indictment is unfathomable and a waste of court time and taxpayer dollars. She absolutely committed no crime, but yet she has been viciously pursued by the GBI for years. They have harassed her family, including her children, during which time the agents were aware of ongoing severe health issues that they were facing."

Hall County Solicitor used public money for dog cremation: probe

Attorney General Chris Carr, once on a first-name basis with Woodard, called the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on her in late 2022. The probe was launched after an I-Team investigation discovered thousands of dollars budgeted to help crime victims was instead spent by Woodard on herself or family members. 

Hall County Solicitor Stephanie Woodard with Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.

Hall County Solicitor Stephanie Woodard with Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. 

Those items included expensive earbuds, noise-reducing headphones and pillows. The I-Team also found spending on jewelry repairs and antique shopping sprees. Even baseball caps for Gov. Brian Kemp's reelection efforts were classified as spending on victims or witnesses. 

The solicitor even spent public money cremating her dog, the investigation found. 

Image 1 of 11

Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard is accused of using her office's money to pay for personal expenses.

Rick Farmer, of Precious Memories Crematory, remembers the $190 expense well. He said the GBI took his statement. 

"It was paid to me, for her dog," Farmer said. 

FOX 5 I-Team: Hall County Solicitor Stephanie Woodard

The FOX 5 I-Team examined almost two years of receipts. The investigation also revealed she spent more than $7,000 on meals for herself and staff and $1,430 for an SAT prep course. She blacked out the name of the supposed victim receiving that SAT help. 

"This shows the kind of callous disregard not only for her office, not only for her oath of office, but the people she's supposed to be protecting and helping," said Edward Queen, an Emory University ethics expert. 

Image 1 of 4

Hall County Solicitor Stephanie Woodard was indicted on 13 counts of false statements and writings and 11 counts of theft by taking, all felonies on June 18, 2024. 

The I-Team probe also found double-dipping involving the Prosecuting Attorneys Council Summer Conference on Jekyll Island in 2022. Woodard submitted an expense report to Hall County for food and parking, then filed an identical report with the conference organizers, being reimbursed twice. 

In an earlier statement, Woodard apologized, telling the FOX 5 I-Team, "Unfortunately, some personal education expenses and other items submitted were confused as victim expenses by mistake – and have since been reimbursed by me personally."

"This oversight is personally and professionally embarrassing," she added. 

In response to questions, she reimbursed some, but not all the charges, paying back about $2,000.

"Sounds like she owes the county some money and a whole bunch of other people a big apology," Farmer, of the crematory, said. 

Hall County Solicitor Stephanie Woodard

Hall County Solicitor Stephanie Woodard

The stakes are much higher now. 

The GBI wrapped up its investigation at the end of 2023. An investigation which, according to a search warrant, sought evidence of "stolen or embezzled property," along with Woodard's court calendars, personal calendars, bank account documents, credit card statements and her cell phone. 

The charges by the grand jury track closely with the FOX 5 I-Team's reporting. In fact, the indictment says the 2018 and 2019 crimes don't fall outside the statute of limitations because investigators didn't know about them until a date that matches the date of the I-Team's first story in 2022

The statement released by Woodard's attorneys goes on to say: 

"We do not say this lightly – the misguided Attorney General’s Office is utterly and provably wrong here."

Image 1 of 2


The criminal investigation lingered over Woodard and her office for a year and a half, but she has not stepped down. 

Under state law, it will be up to a panel appointed by the governor to recommend whether to remove her from office. Tuesday afternoon, a judge signed an order for Woodard's arrest and the Hall County Sheriff's Office later released her booking photo. 

The case against her will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's office, with Carr saying in a statement: 

"Those elected to uphold the law must operate honestly, ethically and transparently, and anything less undermines our system." 

FOX 5 reached out to Woodard by phone, but she hung up.