A Florida woman is behind bars after she allegedly conned a Port Charlotte church into believing her fours sons were killed in the Middle East wars, resulting in her collecting money and other items based on a series of lies regarding her semi-fictitious family.
Shirley Ann Duncan, 49, was arrested Thursday after a 3-month investigation led to the subsequent arrest of a woman who forged documents as a way to swindle more than $1,000 in donated housewares, clothing and furniture from Community Life Center Church. Duncan’s living son, Nicanol “Nick” Collazo, who is actually in the Army and stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, called the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office in October to report his mother’s fraudulent behavior.
According to a CCSO press release, Collazo told deputies that he didn’t have any brothers and that his mother actually held a memorial service for his death at the church for him and his “three” brothers. He admitted to having a brother, but he told deputies that his brother never served int he military.
Duncan allegedly took photos of her son from his Facebook page and presented them to the church, convincing the members that her son was very ill and he wasn’t going to live. She then went back to the church and told members that he died on October 23.
When the church asked fro proof of her son’s death, Duncan produced an “official” document signed by Adjutant General J.A. Ulio, a general that died more than 50-years-ago.
Adding to the tangle web of misinformation, Duncan was asked to provide photos of her other three sons for the memorial service and she falsely gave church members three random photos of soldiers from the internet, claiming they were her sons.
Church pastor Mark Coffey approached Duncan upon discovery of her false information, and offered to help her by inviting her back to the church. The report claims that Coffey even told Duncan that teh church would not condemn her actions.
Duncan never returned to the church but was later approached by CCSO. The report claims that Duncan, “admitted to telling the church group she had four sons killed in the war, collected money offered by the church, presented the bogus death notification letter.” The report further states that Duncan denied any wrongdoing, despite her actions.
She was arrested and booked into the Charlotte County Jail where she is being held on $5,000 bond.