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Thousands stolen from Girl Scout troop, mother turns herself in to police

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Mertinya Deloatch Mertinya Deloatch
EAST POINT, GA (CBS46) -

The mother of a Girl Scout accused of stealing nearly $5,000 from her daughter's troop turned herself in to police on Monday.

Mertinya Deloatch is charged with theft by conversion.

More than $700 was needed to help fund the troop's field trip to learn about the science behind Six Flags, a banquet this month and badges the girls earned by doing various activities.

Certified fraud examiner David Sawyer believes Deloatch reacted out of need or greed.

"This person probably saw that the bank statements were not being reviewed, the checkbook was not being reviewed and it was really a crime of opportunity," Sawyer said.

Troop Leader Traci Harden said that Deloatch was in charge of collecting the money earned from selling Girl Scout cookies and turning it all in to the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta in March.

Harden said parents learned last week that the money was never turned in and asked Deloatch what happened to it.

Harden said Deloatch claimed she had a third party turn the money in and promised to wire the money over, but it was never sent.

CBS Atlanta News went to Deloatch's home Wednesday and Thursday, but no one answered. Now Kamille Sims said she is disappointed.

"It says to be friendly and helpful in the law," Sims said. "That's one of the things people expect Girl Scouts to do."

Thursday the Girl Scouts issued a statement saying that through the support of Six Flags and a generous donation from Reliable Heating and Air, the girls would be able to go to Six Flags and have their banquet. 

So how does a group like this prevent such an alleged white-collar crime?

"If someone is writing the checks or colleting the money, you also want to have somebody who is reviewing it and reviewing the supporting records that go along with it," Sawyer said.

MORE TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR GROUP FROM THEFT 

  1. Separate duties so that more than one person is handling the finances.
  2. Count money from events as a group.
  3. Deposit money from events right away.
  4. Review bank statements at board meetings.
  5. Enlist someone other than the president and treasurer to receive mailed bank statements.

If you'd like to donate to the troop, you can do so by visiting any Wells Fargo branch and donating to the Girls Scouts of Greater Atlanta in Traci Harden's name.

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