Ashley Hunter, ECB Publishing, Inc.
During the month of June, various individuals within the Monticello community were the victims of a felony fraud and swindling scheme operated by Sondral Nashay Macon, of Monticello.
The operation came to the attention of the Monticello Police Department on Thursday, June 21 when the MPD received a call in reference to a black female who was claiming to be an employee of a local daycare facility and was requesting donations for a field trip that would benefit the children at the facility.
The caller advised the MPD that they had contacted the daycare and learned that the individual, later identified as Macon, was not an employee and that her fundraiser claim was false.
The same day, another individual contacted the MPD less than an hour later, stating that she had given a check to someone who had been acting as a representative of a daycare. The second individual informed the MPD that the subject – Sondral Macon, had told her that the funds collected would go towards a field trip to the Jacksonville Zoo for the daycare's children.
On Thursday, June 28, MPD's Cpl. Tharpe and Officer Williams conducted an interview at local businesses whose employees had been approached by Macon and had put together funds to give towards Macon's fundraiser, as they had believed the cause to be worthy.
During the first business' interview, the employees identified a photograph of Macon as well as a flyer that Macon had produced and shown to the employees while attempting to solicit money from them. The flyer claimed that Macon was raising funds for the children at the daycare to take a field trip to the Jacksonville Zoo.
The owner of the second business informed Cpl. Tharpe and Officer Williams that he had been approached by Macon on June 21 outside of his establishment, and had been shown the flyer by Macon. In addition, Macon had also requested that the business owner make a copy of her flyer and place it in his business' window. The business owner told the MPD officers that he had given Macon $20.
Cpl. Tharpe and Officer Williams also interviewed the owner of the daycare that Macon claimed to be representing.
According to the daycare owner, there was no planned trip to the Jacksonville Zoo, and due to liability concerns, he could not foresee planning such a trip.
MPD officers that should a field trip ever be planned, he would not send someone out into the community to solicit donations, but would first notify the parents of the children at his daycare facility and proceed from there.
The owner also advised that he did not know Sondral Macon personally, but did possibly know members of Macon's family.
On Thursday, July 5, another individual contacted the MPD and provided a sworn statement that she had been approached by a nicely dressed black woman (presumably Macon) who had informed the individual that she was collecting donations for a field trip to the Jacksonville Zoo.
When the subject informed the individual that she was collecting funds for the children at the daycare facility, the individual asked whether or not the subject knew her grandchildren, who were enrolled at the daycare.
The subject didn't state whether she did or didn't know the children in mention, and when questioned about the job she held at the daycare, informed the individual that she was 'just filling in' where needed.
The individual stated that she did not give the subject any money, but did observe a large amount of money within the subject's hand and considered it odd that the money was not secured within an envelope or bank bag.
On Friday, July 6, one of the bank tellers at a local bank provided a sworn audio recording interview to MPD officers and stated that they had been the teller who had cashed a check that Macon had brought in after it had been given to her by one of the members of the community. According to the teller, she knew Macon personally from high school and in order to cash the check (Macon did not have an account at that particular bank), Macon had provided her driver's license as a form of identification as well as a fingerprint to the front of the check.
Officers from the Monticello Police Department also obtained an audio statement from an administrative member of another local bank, who informed the officers that Macon had made contact with the staff at the bank, looking to solicit funds.
According to the administrative member, he had informed Macon that they couldn't do anything for her, but then, after he had spoken with another employee at the bank (who was familiar with the daycare), they changed their minds and thought that the solicitation could be a legitimate request for funds; the administrative member then gave Macon a few dollars from his own pocket, though he was unsure of the exact amount.
On Sunday, July 8, another victim provided a sworn audio statement at the MPD in regards to Macon's fund solicitation.
According to this victim, she had never been presented with a flyer, but Macon had approached her and explained to the victim that she was collecting donations in order to take the children at the daycare on a trip before asking if the victim could donate funds towards the trip.
The victim stated that she had given cash to Macon.
When shown a photo of Macon, the victim was able to positively identify her as the person that had approached her.
On July 20, another bank employee provided a sworn audio interview and informed MPD officers that Macon had looked familiar, but that the employee didn't know who she was and that they had given Macon cash for the trip.
On July 26, another victim was interviewed at the Jefferson County Courthouse and gave a sworn audio statement where he told the investigating officers that he had been walking to lunch when he was approached by Macon, whom he already knew due to the previous contact with Macon.
Macon had informed the victim that she had 'turned a corner' and was 'doing well' for herself by working at a legitimate job and was trying to help out with this fundraiser.
Macon produced one of the flyers that advertised her fundraiser and gave the victim information about the trip to the zoo.
Believing her cause to be legitimate, the victim gave Macon cash, as he thought it was a worthy cause and a trip to the zoo for the children at the daycare.
After the Monticello Police Department had completed their investigation into the case, Sondral Macon was arrested and booked into the Jefferson County Jail on Friday, Sept. 14 on felony charges of Fraud-Swindling/obtaining property communication of $300 or more.
As cited under Florida Statute 817.034 (4B1): “Any person who engages in a scheme to defraud and, in furtherance of that scheme, communicates with any person with intent to obtain property from that person is guilty, for each such act of communication, of communications fraud.”