A Cal State Long Beach graduate suspected of embezzling more than $100,000 from the Girl Scouts
of Orange County was arrested at a Wisconsin airport earlier this month and is awaiting extradition back to California, according to U.S. Marshals and Irvine Police.
Marshals were reportedly acting on a tip from Irvine detectives when they took Mawufemor
Bierko into custody.
Bierko was doing accounting work for the Irvine-based Girl Scouts of Orange County when leaders confronted him about financial irregularities, according to the Irvine Police Department. It was believed he masked thefts in a spreadsheet program and then wrote more than $100,000 in checks to himself from the nonprofit's funds.
The same day Bierko was confronted, he never returned to the office from lunch. The Irvine Police Department was informed of the alleged embezzlement on Feb. 1, 2011, after Bierko disappeared.
An investigation determined he deposited the money into a New York bank before transferring funds out of the country. The cash has not been recovered, although the Girl Scouts recovered the amount it lost through its insurance carrier. The nonprofit operates on a reported $8 million annual budget, with 80 percent of revenues generated through cookie sales.
Bierko transferred from Golden West College in Huntington Beach to Cal State Long Beach in 2005, earning his business-administration degree in 2007.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.