Port Charlotte, Florida, woman Shirley Ann Duncan received a sentence of three years probation for faking the deaths of her four sons in order to receive financial aid from her local church. Duncan claimed that three of her sons had been killed in action in the Middle East, while a fourth was on the brink of death. She even went so far as to hold a memorial service for her “dead” children, using pictures of soldiers pulled off the Internet to stand in for her fake sons.
Eventually, the fourth child “died” too, and another benefit was held for her.
It was one of Duncan’s very-much-alive children, Nicanol “Nick” Collazo, who alerted the police of her fraud. Collazo clarified that he’d never been to the Middle East and that he only had one other brother, who was also alive. Attempting to catch her in the ruse, local police then asked the church to have Duncan provide documentation of her sons’ deaths. To keep up the lie, Duncan crafted a doctored letter from the U.S. Secretary of War.
Duncan managed to collect more than $1,000 from her church in donations, clothing and furniture, but now she’ll have to pay restitution to all of her victims. Amazingly, even after the church discovered her con, they still invited her back to services, but so far, she’s refused. [Fox 4]