With a mission to “build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,” the Girl Scouts organization has brought over 2.5 million women and girls together.
According to its website, the majority of the money local Girl Scouts chapters make comes from the sales of their world-famous cookies.
A former bookkeeper for the organization used that to serve her agenda.
According to the Associated Press, 41-year-old Stephanie Person pleaded guilty last month to embezzling nearly $100,000 from the Girl Scouts. She reportedly did so by discretely transferring $85,000 from a Florida Girl Scout chapter to an inactive troop.
WFLA reported that Person handled the finances of over 500 troops.
During the course of Person’s trial, several officials from the Girl Scouts testified in court.
The AP reports that Assistant State Attorney Dan Yuter told the Bradenton Herald that $85,000 should have been “used to further the Girl Scouts numerous programs for the development of leadership skills for young women.” He continued saying that instead, Person decided to keep the money for herself. Specifically, per WFLA, the money stolen was to be used for field trips and community service projects.
Lt. Joe Giasone with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office told WFLA:
“When she realized how easy it was, she just kept doing it. She described it as like an addiction, she just kept doing it and couldn’t stop. She said she used it for living expenses and she was buying scratch-off lottery tickets, wasn’t buying anything tangible.”
The Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida CEO Sue Stewart told WFLA Person’s seniority with the organization made this all the more painful:
“I was extremely surprised at this. We had a 10-year, trusted former employee. As Girl Scouts, we’re teaching our girls to be honest and fair, and it really is disappointing that we’re upholding a mission and that this could occur.”
On Tuesday, according to the AP, a Florida judge sentenced her to 30 months in prison and 27 years of probation. She is also required to pay $112,158 in restitution.
It’s unclear if Person’s sentence behind bars has started yet, but her time with the Girl Scouts is definitely over.
Watch the story below, via WFLA: