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Man admits to stealing from Girl Scouts

Unlike many other crimes, white collar crimes typically do not involve violence. White collar crimes generally involve financial theft.

A 35-year-old former foreign exchange student from Ghana has been convicted of stealing from the Girl Scouts while he was employed by the organization in California. The man recently pleaded guilty to a felony count of grand theft embezzlement and two forgery felony counts. He was sentenced to more than five years behind bars and was ordered to pay back the money he stole.

Prosecutors allege that during the time the defendant worked as an accountant at the Girl Scout Council of Orange County, he forged close to two dozen checks over a period of 11 months. The former foreign exchange student reportedly stole slightly more than $102,000.

A supervisor noticed problems with the accounting spreadsheet and alerted management. However, by the time the discrepancies were discovered, the man had reportedly begun his trip back to Ghana. The man was arrested when he returned to the United States last June.

A conviction for a white collar crime can result in harsh penalties. However, one way that a criminal defense attorney may attempt to lessen the impact of a criminal conviction is by negotiating a plea bargain. This often means making restitution to the victims if something has been stolen. In the case of embezzlement, this means repaying the cash that was taken from an individual or company. In return for restitution, prosecutors may be more inclined to reduce jail sentences and other fines.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Man convicted of embezzling $100,000 from O.C. Girl Scouts," Jan. 31, 2013

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