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North Port woman sentenced for defrauding church

Shirley Ann Duncan

North Port woman sentenced for defrauding church

By John Rinkenbaugh. CREATED May 20, 2013

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - A 49-year-old North Port woman plead no contest to defrauding a Port Charlotte church by saying her four sons were killed in Middle East wars.

Shirley Ann Duncan will serve 36 months probation, pay court costs, plus $100 for the cost of prosecution along with providing a DNA sample to FDLE because she is now a convicted felon.  

Duncan must also pay restitution to her victims.

The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office received a call October 26, 2012 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.