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Woman gets probation for saying 4 sons died in war to get aid

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla., May 21 (UPI) — A Florida woman accused of faking her sons’ deaths so she could receive aid from a Port Charlotte church will serve three years of probation under a plea deal.

Shirley Ann Duncan accepted a plea bargain offer last week on her effort to defraud the church by saying her four sons were killed in the Middle East.

She also must make restitution to her victims.

The pastor of Community Life Center Church, which held a funeral for her still-alive sons, said he doesn’t hold a grudge against Duncan, WBBH-TV, Fort Myers, Fla., reported Monday.

Duncan, 49, was arrested in January for scheming to defraud and criminal use of personal identification information. At the time her arrest was announced, investigators said Duncan told church members in September three sons were killed in action and the fourth wasn’t expected to live. She later said he died. Duncan collected more than $1,000, including donated household items, clothing and furniture.

Pastor Mark Coffey said he hoped Duncan learned a life lesson and wouldn’t try a similar hoax again.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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