I personally find nothing more irritating than being heckled on the street while I’m running errands or going to the grocery store by someone wanting to sell me something or sign me up for a charity – with one single exception: Girl Scouts. I will stop all day for a Girl Scout troop and buy as many thin mints as my body can carry. Perhaps for you, it’s samosas or shortbread cookies? Either way, one woman out in Santa Clarita California loved the profits the troops derived from selling their wares is accused of embezzling over $93,000.00  from both the Girl Scouts and a Beverly Hills cancer treatment center.

Patricia Cascione, age 52, pled guilty to embezzlement charges during her arraignment.  From March  2013  through February 2017,  the former accountant is accused of using over $58,000 from the Girls Scouts accounts for her own personal use, and then also diverted over $34,000 in donations from the Cancer Center to one of her Girls Scouts accounts in another attempt to embezzle the money, according to prosecutors. If she is convicted, she faces up to three years and eight months in prison.

The investigation, which spanned over the course of several months, started when an employee of the Girls Scouts organization reported Ms. Cascione’s suspicious activities directly to the Sheriff’s department. In her past, Cascione had worked as a volunteer treasurer for multiple Girl  Scout troops over the last 20 years. In looking through bank records, law enforcement claims that there was evidence of embezzled funds in the Santa Clarita area chapters, with her attempting to hide embezzlement based on accounting tricks. This investigation led them to look at her relationship with the Beverly Hills Cancer Center, where Cascione was a Chief Financial Officer. Officers allege that she informed the center money would be used for one thing, and then she would deposit it somewhere else by false pretenses.

Since the announcement of Ms. Cascione’s arrest for her behavior, the Sheriff’s office has received phone calls about potential victims of Ms. Cascione and her ‘funny money,’ including her involvement with various youth sports activities in the area. This incident isn’t the only one threatening your Tagalongs. In Seattle, various troops have been targeted for crimes, including at least one incident of attempted armed robbery. Two men with a gun tried to rob two Girl Scouts selling cookies in Tacoma. Luckily, the men fled the scene, leaving with neither cookies nor cash. Other troops have reported losing money after being paid with counterfeit bills or having boxes stolen directly from their booths.

The money goes to pay the baker for the cookies themselves, and then they keep any excess for the local troops, as they are not funded by the national group. Over half the local money raised comes from cookie sales. Troops use it however they see fit, but many use it for suppliers or to help pay for uniforms. It also helps defray the costs of activities, like horseback riding or camping.