North Port woman charged with defrauding Port Charlotte church
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Charlotte County detectives arrested a 49-year-old North Port woman for defrauding a Port Charlotte church saying her four sons were killed in Middle East wars.
Shirley Ann Duncan faces charges of scheme to defraud and criminal use of personal identification information.
CCSO received a call October 26 from Duncan's son who serves in the U.S. Army saying his mother used his identity to defraud the Community Life Center Church in Port Charlotte.
Nicanol "Nick Collazo said his mother got of money by claiming he had been killed in the war. Collazo said his mother had been collecting money and other benefits from the church claiming he was killed in the Iraq/Afghanistan in 2010.
He said she went as far as having a memorial service at the church, not only to honor his death, but the death of his three brothers serving in the Army that also had been killed in the Middle East. Collazo told detectives he only has one brother and he has never served in the military.
Duncan collected more than $1,000 including donated housewares, clothing and furniture as a result of the deception.
Detectives said the church asked Duncan for documentation on the deaths and she presented a fraudulent letter supposedly from the Secretary of War informing her that her son was killed Aug. 13, 2010. The fake letter was signed by Adjutant General J.A. Ulio. Detectives researched and found that the General died over 50 years ago.
Duncan was asked to provide photos of her four dead soldiers for a special memorial service on Oct. 23, 2012 at the church for her alleged fourth son that died. Duncan provided only Collazo’s photo and three other random photos of soldiers from the internet.
The church later discovered Duncan had been deceiving them and church members reached out to Duncan and told her they knew what was going on but would not condemn her. They also asked Duncan to come back to church but she refused and never returned.
The church declined to prosecute for the fraud but Thursday Duncan told detectives she told the church group she had four sons killed in the war, collected money offered by the church, presented the bogus death notification letter, but, denied any wrong doing. Duncan was arrested and transported to the Charlotte County Jail where she remains on $5,000 bond.
FOX 4 News talks to the church pastor tonight at 6.