Former Girl Scouts Employee Pleads Guilty in Embezzlement Scheme

A former senior manager for the Girl Scout Council of Greater Los Angeles has pleaded guilty to federal charges in an embezzlement scheme, the organization said Wednesday.

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File photo of troop members selling Girl Scout cookies.

Channing Smack of Marina del Rey had been the senior property manager for the regional scouting organization until he was accused of embezzling $370,000 through false invoices and other means.

He was charged Dec. 18 in a federal criminal complaint with laundering $50,000 of the total amount he stole.

He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to the money laundering charge and to one count of mail fraud, the Girl Scout Council of Greater Los Angeles announced in a news release Wednesday.

Girl Scout executives had discovered irregularities in records kept by Smack, then fired him and alerted federal investigators to his activities, the organization stated at the time of Smack’s arrest.

“We were outraged that a trusted member of our staff would violate the fundamental values we teach our girls every day,” the organization’s Chief External Relations Officer Carol Dedrich said in a statement Wednesday. “Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles has very high standards and expectations of our employees and volunteers, as they serve as role models for girls.”

Smack managed 22 properties owned by the Girl Scout Council of Greater Los Angeles. He was accused of approving invoices from a fake maintenance and engineering firm that was registered under the name of his brother, who had died in 2001, according to court documents. The checks were paid into accounts that Smack withdrew funds from, an affidavit states.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Smack will pay $370,000 in restitution to the Girl Scouts, of which $250,000 has already been recovered, according to the organization.

A sentencing hearing was set for May 27.

Dedrich called the incident a “teaching moment” for the Girl Scouts, who are just entering the Girl Scout Cookie season.


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