|Former Girl Scout Leader Accused of Stealing From Troop|
|Abby Ellin||Mar 22, 2013, 12:43 PM|
After it was scammed out of 6,000 boxes of cookies earlier this month, the Girl Scouts is now reckoning with another alleged scam - this time by one of its own.
Darlene Jo Lewis, 49, a former leader of the Douglasville, Ga., Girl Scout Troop 798, allegedly stole nearly $10,000 from the troop, reported ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta. "From gas to food to dating services, different things," Sgt. Todd Garner of the Douglasville Police Department told WSB.
Image credit: Obtained by ABC News
"She had a PayPal account hooked to the debit card and was just making her own personal purchases off the troop account," Garner told the ABC affiliate. She made purchases at Walmart, Sam's Club, a Christian bookstore and a senior dating website, according to Garner.
Lewis was treasurer of the Troop 798 between 2010 and 2012; the theft allegedly occurred between April 4, 2010, and Jan. 1, 2011, the Douglas County Sentinel reported.
Lewis' alleged theft was detected by former co-leader Tracy Williams, who began asking to see bank statements in 2010. "I always got excuse after excuse," Williams told WSB-TV. "She even told me once, 'I looked at the balance and thought there was more than that.'"
Previously, the troop, which once had about 120 members, kept between $15,000 and $18,000 in its bank account. But by the time Lewis' suspicions were aroused, there was only about $6,000 left. "Dipping into the funds appeared to become an easy habit for her," said Williams.
"She did pay some money back over time, but out of over $10,000, she only paid back a few hundred," Garner told WSB-TV.
The troop was disbanded in May 2012. Lewis, who was charged with felony theft, was released on a $9,800 bond. She could not be reached for comment.
A spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta told ABC News in an email that "We are saddened by this alleged incident and will continue to stand behind the girls and families who were impacted."