Girl Scouts official accused of fraud

In many organizations, high-ranking officials are often given enough power that abuses become easier to conceal. Recent years have proven that to be true in both the private and public sectors, but nonprofits and charities are also susceptible to fraud. Wherever employees are allowed access to and control over company funds, visibility into their actions with that money is essential, and accounts payable audits play an important role in protecting organizations from embezzlement.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Channing Smack of Marina Del Ray, Calif., has been accused by federal authorities of stealing $370,000 from the Girl Scouts organization, for which he worked in an executive capacity as a property manager. His primary responsibility in that position was to manage the Los Angeles-based property holdings of the Girl Scouts. Allegedly, Smack laundered $50,000 of the total amount embezzled and, if convicted, could face up to 10 years in prison.

After being confronted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Smack allegedly withdrew a large sum of cash from the bank accounts that were believed to contain the embezzled money, the source reported. Not long after that, the FBI arrested the 51-year-old man. 

The L.A. Times noted that according to court documents, the alleged embezzlement took place for over a year, from August 2012 to October 2013. Smack is accused of having approved fraudulent invoices from ZB Land Maintenance and Engineering, a company registered in​ the name of his deceased brother.

An official statement from the Girl Scouts said that the crimes of which Smack has been accused "clearly violate the fundamental values and beliefs of the Girl Scout organization and the girls it serves," The Associated Press reported. The organization fired Smack in advance of his arrest. Public defender Miriam Yasmin Cader, who is representing Smack, elected to give no comment on the case.

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