(WBIR-Jefferson County) A mother and her adult daughter were charged with theft and forgery after police said they stole thousands of dollars from a local Girl Scout troop.
Patricia Graf, 49, was arrested Monday on theft and forgery charges. She was the leader of Girl Scout Troop 20072 in Jefferson City.
Her daughter, Jennifer Bryant, 31, was an assistant leader and was charged with forgery. Both were released Monday evening.
Parents said what started as suspicions turned into a full investigation.
"We noticed that no matter how often we asked to see the finances, to see where the money went, it was just an outright refusal," said Timothy Cummings, who had two daughters in the troop. "It was apparently the chief motivation for her to push that troop so hard during cookie season to make more and more money. Every year was a record-breaking year for this troop."
The Jefferson City Police Department started investigating the possible theft in the fall of 2013. Officers said receipts from June of 2012 to June of 2013 showed the duo stole up to $5,300.
Cummings said Graf cashed in on sales beyond cookie season, which typically ends in March. Since his wife started a new troop, they have dozens of boxes of cookies leftover from 2013 that he said Graf bought to make money.
"What we have here are about 900 boxes of cookies from the last season that the former troop leader checked out from council on the last day of the cookie season," said Cummings.
10News called The Girl Scouts Council of the Southern Appalachians. Council officials said while there are exceptions to the rule, the organization did not give Graf or the troop permission to sell cookies in July of 2013. But, a picture posted in The Jefferson County Post on July 8th shows Graf and a few girls at a booth during a Dandridge car show.
"She was selling beyond the season to make money for herself," claimed Cummings.
Graf was dismissed as the leader in September. Cummings said his wife started the new troop to try and get things back on track for the girls.
"I don't want any parent or girl to be afraid to join Girl Scouts because the whole point of cookie sales is to teach ethical entrepreneurship to the girls," said Cummings. "We teach ethics and fair business practices now because this is the type of stuff that they're going to grow up with and hopefully change the world with when they become grown up girls."
Graf and Bryant are scheduled to appear in court in February. Jefferson City Police said they pulled bank records from the four years Graf was in charge, but could not disclose the findings due to the ongoing investigation.