Girl Scout troop leader charged with stealing cookie moneyby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A Mendota Heights Girl Scouts troop leader has been charged with using money raised from cookie sales to play blackjack at a casino and buy sports equipment for her daughters.
Joleen Hopkins, 54, was supposed to be managing the money for the annual cookie fundraiser and sending most of it to the local Girl Scouts chapter. Instead, investigators said she stole about $8,200 in 2008 and 2009.
According to a criminal complaint filed this week, Hopkins admitted to the Mendota Heights Police Department that she mishandled the money and used it to pay personal bills, among other things.
She also told police her family's bills were piling up because both she and her husband had been out of work for a long time.
Officials at Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys Chapter had grown suspicious of the troop's financial transactions. Police got involved after the chapter requested but did not receive the missing payments.
Hopkins faces four counts of theft and two counts of theft by swindle.