A West View woman surrendered this morning on charges that she stole nearly $5,000 from a local Girl Scout troop.
Teresa Gatto, 44, was released on unsecured bond after she was arraigned before District Judge Richard Opiela today on one theft charge.
Ms. Gatto volunteered as a service area manager for the West View/Perry troop of the Girl Scouts of America. The group hosts a summer camp for girls every year and Ms. Gatto's position gave her access to a bank account that was meant to pay for patches, life guards, facilities fees and supplies for activities.
"When others asked to see bank statements, [Ms. Gatto] would make excuses for why she couldn't produce them and later said that she was not getting the statements in the mail," investigators with the Allegheny County district attorney's office wrote in a criminal complaint. "At any time when a volunteer would question the actor regarding anything related to money or expenses, she would get irate and not speak to them for long periods of time."
Others volunteering for the Girl Scouts grew suspicious and went to the bank in the spring of 2012. They discovered that the account balance was $38.67 and, "They were shocked to find many checks payable to cash or the actor," detectives wrote.
Confronted by investigators, Ms. Gatto said that some of money went to pay for gift cards given out at Girl Scouts events. Some went toward the purchase of two Kennywood tickets for her personal use, and some Ms. Gatto could not explain except to say that she had provided the Girl Scouts with copies of her receipts and did not keep copies for herself, detectives wrote.
One of the Girl Scout volunteers, however, told detectives that troop leaders do not submit receipts when they file their expense reports.
Another said that a trooper leaders suggested in 2008 that the troop create a board to determine how money brought in by the camp would be spent, but that Ms. Gatto did not run the board democratically. "She felt the board was used as a 'front' for the actor to misappropriate camp funds," according to court records.
Detectives have accused Ms. Gatto of misappropriating $4,818.41, most of which they said she obtained by writing checks payable for cash or to herself.
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1438. or on Twitter @LizNavratil. First Published July 3, 2013 4:15 AM