Calif. Man Pilfers $370K From Girl Scouts in Dead Brother's Name: Feds

A man worked as a property manager for the Girl Scouts and allegedly funneled money to bank accounts in the name of his dead brother, federal prosecutors say

By Jason Kandel
|  Thursday, Dec 19, 2013  |  Updated 9:28 AM CDT
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A Marina Del Rey man was arrested on federal charges of embezzling $370,000 from the Girl Scouts, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Channing Smack, 51, a senior property manager of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, was arrested Tuesday without incident.

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Smack is named in a criminal complaint charging him with money laundering, a federal offense that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison, the United States Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

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Smack was arrested after being interviewed by FBI agents about the alleged embezzlement and one day after he withdrew $64,500 from accounts believed to contain proceeds of the scheme, officials said.

According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, Smack was responsible for managing the Girl Scouts' 22 properties in the Los Angeles area.

Over the past year and a half, Smack approved invoices for services purportedly provided by a firm called ZB Land Maintenance & Engineering, which is registered under the name of Smack’s dead brother.

Between August 2012 and October 2013, allegedly at Smack’s direction, Girls Scouts issued 23 checks to ZB that totaled $368,278.

The evidence uncovered by the FBI shows that most of the checks to ZB were then deposited into one of two bank accounts opened under the names of the company and Smack’s dead brother.

According to the affidavit, bank surveillance photographs show an individual who looks like Smack either depositing or withdrawing funds into or from these bank accounts.

In a statement, Carol Dedrich, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, said that when officials discovered monetary irregularities, they contacted authorities and terminated Smack.

"We are shocked and disappointed by this news and are cooperating completely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation," the statement read. "The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles has very high standards and expectations of our employees and our volunteers. We understand clearly that we all serve as role models for our girls and we take that responsibility very seriously."

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