The Collier County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 35-year-old woman on Tuesday for allegedly embezzling from three businesses, one of them a charity.
Deputies said Mary Melissa Chancy “engaged in an elaborate scheme to embezzle funds” from a company and charity operated by Vincent “Cap” Mona.
Mona told WINK News he is heartbroken. He said he has decided to retire and give everything he has built to his sons.
He said he not only trusted Chancy, but he gave her every chance to tell him the truth.
“I just feel sorry for her, that she took that path in life,” he said.
Mona has been an entrepreneur all his life and has worked for his family.
“Call me old-fashioned, handshake and you trust in people and that’s how my businesses succeeded,” Mona said. “They felt the trust and I felt the trust and it’s all for the team and the team prospered.”
In May 2019, Mona told deputies he believed Chancy, who was his bookkeeper, had misappropriated $570,000 from three of his companies: Three Palms Design Build LLC, Clinton Investment Group LLC and Cap Mona Angel Fund, a charitable organization established to provide aid to two schools and a church in Haiti.
Attempts to speak with Chancy were unsuccessful.
“When she stole money from the school, how many meals would have helped feed those impoverished children, that’s the worst of it all,” Mona said. “She wasn’t as honest as we thought and that really hurt because she looked like a nice human being.”
An investigation showed that from the time Chancy was hired in January of 2016, a total of $800,281 had been misappropriated.
Investigators found Chancy recorded deceiving entries in ledges and manipulated bank statements, in addition to altering the names of payees when she was really paying herself.
“You know, it just took the spark out of me,” Mona said.
Collier County Sgt. Brian Sawyer said the best way to protect yourself and your business is to stay on the alert.
“A lot of people that steal from businesses start out small and then it gets bigger and bigger so the quicker you’re able to determine the theft’s occurring the easier it is to minimize the amount of theft that may have happened,” Sawyer said. “Look for those small things.”
If there is one thing Mona wants everyone to take from his experience, it’s this: “Honesty is the most important thing in life.”
She was arrested on felony warrants and faces charges of grand theft $100,000 or more, and scheme to defraud $50,000 or more.
She was booked into Collier County Jail and released after posting $60,000 bond.