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Woman admits to stealing $2,500 from Cub Scout pack in Minnesota

BRAINERD, Minn. - A Brainerd Cub Scout pack is out nearly $2,500 after its treasurer admitted to stealing from the pack's checking account. Ruth Ilene Stevens, 41, of Pillager, was charged with two counts of felony theft by the Crow Wing County A...

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BRAINERD, Minn. - A Brainerd Cub Scout pack is out nearly $2,500 after its treasurer admitted to stealing from the pack's checking account.

Ruth Ilene Stevens, 41, of Pillager, was charged with two counts of felony theft by the Crow Wing County Attorney's Office after she told a Brainerd Police Department investigator she took the money without permission. According to the criminal complaint filed against Stevens, she told the investigator she took the money because she and her husband were having financial difficulties, and she intended to pay it back.

The theft from Brainerd Cub Pack 74, which meets at the First Lutheran Church, was first reported to Brainerd police March 18. The scoutmaster told police he'd checked bank records and noticed several checks written and cash withdrawals that were not for troop purposes.

The investigator looked through the transaction history and found $1,090 was taken from the account during the first six months of 2015. Another $1,335 was withdrawn between August 2015 and January 2016.

Dave Trehey is the scout executive for the Boy Scouts of America Central Minnesota Council, which manages the packs and troops in 12 counties including Crow Wing County. Trehey, who's worked at the council for 13 years, said the funds of Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops are managed independently of the council.

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"We don't have any oversight on that part of their program," Trehey said, although he added the council trains and attempts to guide adult volunteers in best practices for managing bank accounts.

The council recommends volunteers use a two-signature system, assuring at least two people are reviewing expenses.

"Some of our groups have two people sign the checks," Trehey said.

Although banks do not typically recognize the dual signatures, he said, it "forces the issue of having at least two people reviewing the bank accounts."

Another recommendation is a treasurer's report to a volunteer committee. This way, Trehey said, a committee can approve each expenditure from a troop's account.

"We just don't tolerate any volunteers taking advantage of bank accounts," he said. "We rely on people making good choices. ... This kind of situation, it doesn't happen often. This is the only situation that I'm aware of that has gone to our law enforcement authorities."

The felony theft charges Stevens faces each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Stevens is set to make her first appearance in Crow Wing County District Court on Aug. 22.

Related Topics: CRIMETHEFT
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