Inland Empire News

Menifee Girl Scout leader accused of embezzling $5,000 from troop

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A 26-year-old Menifee Girl Scout leader was arrested for allegedly embezzling thousands of dollars from a local troop.

Redlands police say Michelle Marie Villa used the troop debit card to purchase more than $5,000 worth of personal items between July 2012 and July 2013. The purchases included groceries, craft supplies, athletic gear, a computer and a printer.

The crime was reported to Redlands police by the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio headquarters in Redlands December 2013.

"Is it disheartening for us that that happened? Absolutely. That is not a message that we want to give to our girls. That's not a message we want to give to the community," said Jua-Nita Houston, spokesperson for Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio.

Houston says the council began investigating Villa's financial activities after they received a tip. Shortly after, Villa was relieved of her duties as a troop leader for a Moreno Valley Girl Scout troop.

Last Thursday, detectives served a search warrant at Villa's home and recovered evidence of embezzlement. Villa was arrested and has since been released on $50,000 bail.

"Once we become aware that funds have been misused or misappropriated, as a council, we refund those funds directly back to the troop. So the troop loses no money," said Houston.

If you have any information about this case, you're urged to contact Redlands Police Dispatch at (909) 798-7681.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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