Dayton Boy Scouts releases statement on former executive charged with fraud, diverting funds

A former Dayton Boy Scouts of America executive has been indicted on charges of fraud, forgery and transporting charitable funds for personal use.

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According to the Lake County, Illinois, court records, George D. Nelson, 51, was indicted by a Lake County grand jury on Aug. 29. Nelson was issued warrants on three occasions from June to December of last year.

“This individual’s actions did not occur in the Miami Valley Council and have not impacted our council in any way, as reflected by the clean opinion we received from our external auditors in 2017 and in recent prior years,” read a statement released by Jeffery R. Schiavone, Scout executive for the Miami Valley Council.

Nelson served as an executive for the Boy Scouts of America Miami Valley Council in Dayton for more than five years before moving on to the Northeast Illinois Council in 2017.

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“As a council, we take our financial responsibility to our donors, Scouting family and all stakeholders very seriously,” read the Miami Valley Council statement. “All financial decisions are made based on our commitment to manage Scouting resources wisely in order to focus on our mission of providing families with a program that instills leadership, character and service in the youth we serve.

“We continue to serve the young people of Miami Valley with solid financial controls, oversight and stewardship.”

According to an article published by the Chicago Tribune, Nelson is alleged to have dispersed $25,000 in charitable funds for personal benefit.

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The indictment alleges Nelson transferred the funds from the Northeast Illinois Council to the Miami Valley Council to purchase a personal vehicle.

Nelson allegedly created a false document verifying funds to be sent to a home loan company, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Highland Park police began their investigation on May 8 after being notified by the council, Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Lowman said.

“The Northeast Illinois Council is disappointed that an individual would take advantage of our Scouting family and community in this way,” said Greg Lawless, president of the Northeast Illinois Council. “These actions do not represent our employees, volunteers and parents who work tirelessly to accomplish our mission to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes.”

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Lawless said the council’s financial controls identified the alleged wrongdoing, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“We took quick action to remove this individual and prohibit him from any future participation in scouting,” Lawless said.

The council has implemented additional controls to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future, according to Lawless.

The charge for misuse of charitable funds is a felony for which Nelson could serve up to three to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, according to Cynthia Vargas, communications director for the Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim.

The wire fraud and forgery charges are felonies punishable by a term of two to five years in prison, Vargas said.

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