A Girl Scout troop leader in Mendota Heights pled guilty Tuesday to stealing several thousand dollars in proceeds from her troop's Girl Scout cookie sales.
Joleen Hopkins, 55, was responsible for managing the money for the annual cookie fundraiser and sending most of it to the local Girl Scouts chapter. Instead, investigators said she stole about $8,200 in 2008 and 2009.
Hopkins pled guilty to two counts of theft by swindle totaling $4,184, and agreed to pay restitution. Prosecutors said a judge will establish the restitution amount at a separate hearing. The Dakota County district attorney plans to seek restitution closer to $8,200.
Hopkins admitted that she used the money to pay personal bills, buy sports equipment for her daughters and play blackjack at a casino. She told investigators that her bills were piling up because she and her husband had been out of work for a long time.
Officials at Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys Chapter discovered the fraud and requested the woman return the money. When she refused, they contacted police.
Hopkins will be sentenced on Sept. 13. The restitution hearing has not yet been scheduled.