BRADENTON, Fla. (CBS Local) — Girl Scout cookies are big business this time of year and fraudsters from Florida to Oregon are taking advantage by passing along fake money.
The Girl Scout Gulfcoast Florida council says it’s out $650 after being paid with counterfeit cash.
The crooks used fake bills to receive real currency as change, according to police.
“Just sadness — who would do this?” asked Kelly McGraw, the director of Member Experience at Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, which covers 10 counties, including Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Highlands.
In the past two weeks, at least six different troops in the council say they’ve been paid with the phony money.
The troops, who have been selling cookies outside a Publix and Walmart on State Road 64 and a Publix on State Road 70 in the Bradenton area, say they didn’t realize what had happened until they deposited the money at a bank.
“I’m really upset because Girl Scouts work very hard to sell all these cookies,” Sydney Cramer, a 10-year-old girl scout told CBS affiliate WTSP.
Someone handed Sydney’s 7-year-old sister, Ragean, fake cash.
“My seven year old was handed a 50 dollar bill, she sat there and took her time and he waited patiently while she took her time to make sure she counted, with care, his change and handed it back to him,” said Michelle Cramer, who was out helping her daughters, Sydney and Ragean, with their cookie booth this past weekend.
“I know at first, Ragean felt like she did something wrong. And that was tough as a mom to explain to her she didn’t,” she added.
Meantime, on the opposite side of the country, police used surveillance video track down an alleged scammer.
Camden Ducharme, 36, was arrested Sunday in Salem, Oregon, after he allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to buy Girl Scout cookies outside a Walmart store.
— FOX 12 Oregon KPTV (@fox12oregon) February 25, 2020
“The bill didn’t look right, it was smaller, bluish tint and it just wasn’t the same as the rest of the bills,” Ava Brown, a 13-year-old Girl Scout, told KPTV.
Ducharme was charged of first-degree forgery and third-degree theft.