Girl Scouts cheated in cookie purchase

Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts
From left, Piper Davis, 6, Elisabeth Harkins, 10, Ana Lee Oliver, 9, Marcella Strasser, 7 and Cameron Strasser, 5 take a break from selliing Girl Scout cookies to pose for a photo outside the Lowe's in North Augusta Sunday afternoon Someone recently tried to pay them with a fake $20 bill.

Taryn Marks can tell you exactly how many boxes of cookies she has sold this year.


"Seven-hundred and fifty," she said.

Taryn, a third-grader at Mossy Creek Elementary School in North Augusta, said that she has been in Girl Scouts since she was in kindergarten, and in all the years she has sold cookies she has never had anyone pay for them with a counterfeit bill.

That changed on  March 6, when someone gave Taryn's Girl Scout Troop 5295 a counterfeit $20 bill as payment while the troop was selling cookies in front of Lowe's, according to a North Augusta Department of Public Safety incident report.

Suman Marks-Johnson, Taryn's mother, said that no one knew the bill was fake until she checked the money later that day.

"We had been teaching the girls how to count money that day, and it must have slipped in," she said. "I was surprised. I didn't think someone would do that to Girl Scouts."

Marks-Johnson said that she looked at the bill for five or six minutes before she decided to test it with a counterfeit money detection pen. That was when she discovered that it was a fake.

"It was very real-looking. It looked like one of the more recent versions of $20 bills, the ones before they put color on them. The color on the bill was a little off, and it felt a little off," Marks-Johnson said.

She said she turned the bill in to the North Augusta Department of Public Safety. She said Girl Scouts have to sell about 50 boxes of cookies to make a $20 profit.

"The girls want to donate a bunch of money to charity this year," she said. "The girls were all pretty sad and upset when they realized what it meant."

She said the Jim Bush Flower Shop in North Augusta heard about what had happened and donated $20 to replace what the girls lost.

Taryn said she is going to start using the counterfeit money detection pen more, and the next time someone tries to give her a phony bill, she knows what to do.

"Arrest the person," she said with a grin.


Reach Jonathan Overstreet at (706) 823-3708