A former Girl Scouts executive in Virginia will serve a three-month sentence after pleading guilty to embezzling nearly $23,000 from the organization.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1qEFZg5) that 62-year-old Linda Carne of Crozier was sentenced Monday. A Hanover Circuit Court judge suspended all but three months of a five-year sentence.
Carne pleaded guilty in April. She served as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia from April 2010 to December 2011.
Prosecutors say Carne used a Girl Scout-issued credit card to pay for stays in posh hotels, baseball game tickets, spa services and rental of a North Carolina beach house.
The former leader of the 12,000-member Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia will serve three months in jail for a felony embezzlement scam that drained an average of more than $1,000 a month from Scout funds.
Linda Carne, 62, had entered a guilty plea in April and was released on bond after hearing special prosecutor Matthew Ackley describe a complex scheme in which Carne disguised family trips and luxury accommodations as part of outreach efforts.
Hanover Circuit Court Judge Patricia Kelly ordered Carne, a former associate of author Patricia Cornwell and an administrator at Randolph-Macon College, to serve five years in prison, but she suspended all but three months.
Carne will serve 85 percent of that term and was taken immediately into custody as a smattering of well-wishers and detractors watched from the courtroom. Kelly said Carne can apply for work release if she is eligible.
Carne, who lived in Crozier, pleaded guilty after a complex investigation by forensic accountants that cost nearly $52,000 — more than twice the $22,979.80 that Carne admitted she stole.
Carne was fired in December 2011, about 20 months after having been brought into the administrative branch of the 12,000-scout, century-old organization in April 2010.
Carne was paid in excess of $100,000 a year, according to the Girl Scout organization, which covers some 30 counties and multiple cities, including Richmond, in the central Virginia region.
Ackley said earlier this year that investigators with the Virginia State Police and forensic accountants tracked down alleged contacts Carne said she had made on trips across the country, but discovered that Carne rarely, or barely, met with them.
Instead, she used her Scout-issued credit card to stay at such luxury hotels as The Algonquin in New York City, attended an equestrian event in Kentucky that cost $4,218, and scheduled her trips to coincide with professional baseball games in Major League cities. She often took family members along.
“This is not a happy day for us,” a Scout spokesperson said when Carne was convicted, noting that tight restrictions have been placed on the use of the Scout credit card.
After Carne resigned, she worked briefly in Ashland for Randolph-Macon College’s Center for Personal and Career Development. She was the former executive director of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, the brainchild of former Richmond crime novelist Patricia Cornwell, who envisioned the institute as a training ground for forensic scientists.
The institute shut down when the General Assembly declined to fund it.