Cookie money thief given work release in sentencing
A former Girl Scouts leader who stole more than $4,000 from her troop’s annual cookie fundraiser was sentenced Monday to serve six months in Mesa County’s work release program and spend eight years on probation.
Carmen Wysong, 27, of Eckert, must also complete 100 hours of useful public service and pay $4,807 in restitution to Girl Scouts of Colorado. District Judge Richard Gurley ordered restitution despite skepticism about Wysong’s ability to pay.
Employed at a local gas station while paying on a student loan, Wysong has paid just one third of the restitution ordered stemming from a 2007 felony conviction for being an accessory to a crime, Gurley noted. The 2007 restitution was recently sent to a collections agency.
“Why should I believe you can pay it back now?” the judge asked.
Gurley said Wysong, who is still free on bond, will have to report to Mesa County work release once a bed becomes available.
Wysong was sentenced Monday consistent with the terms of a plea agreement. Wysong pleaded guilty Feb. 27 to violating terms of probation and one count of felony theft. The agreement called for a community-based sentence but left open the possibility of jail time.
Wysong was arrested in November after admitting to a Mesa County sheriff’s investigator she’d spent cash from her troop’s cookie fundraiser to make a deposit and two months rent on a home, in addition to utilities, food and truck payments, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Wysong told the judge the truck has since been repossessed because she couldn’t afford the payments.
Wysong called police on March 28, 2012, and reported a zippered bank bag, which had fundraiser cash from Grand Junction Troop 12671, was missing from her roommate’s dresser. Wysong and the roommate were volunteer co-leaders of the troop. Wysong initially fingered the roommate for the missing money.
Girl Scouts said the cash totaled $6,870, accounting for 1,963 boxes of cookies, according to the affidavit.
The discrepancy between the figure in the affidavit and Wysong’s restitution payment wasn’t explained.
Troop 12671 was disbanded as a result of the crime.
“The girls in her troop, including her own daughter, worked extremely hard to raise that money,” Deputy District Attorney Jason Conley said. “More aggravating was her attempt to blame her roommate.”
In her interview with officials, the details of which were contained in a pre-sentence report, Wysong said Girl Scouts was “a great organization that did not deserve that.”
Wysong apologized Monday, calling her crime “a mistake.”