Mandarin resident says man tried to swindle him out of money at expense of nonprofit

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – 'Tis the season to give, but for some, that giving spirit makes them want to take even more.

On social media, Jacksonville residents are posting about porch piracy, phone scams and now in-person hoaxes. A Mandarin man told News4Jax that someone tried swindling him out of money at the expense of a nonprofit.

Barry Adaska has lived on Mary Draper Court West in Lake Mandarin for six years. He said what happened to him Friday night in the typically quiet area was out of the ordinary.

“We were just sitting out in our garage, waiting around for our food to arrive,” he said. “We heard someone hollering, ‘Hello.'"

Adaska said it was a man “dressed nicely” in a tie, button-down shirt and slacks.

“He was attempting to sell magazines around 8:45 p.m., which was the first thing that piqued my interest," Adaska said. “He used a charity. I believe it was Ronald McDonald House, if I remember correctly.”

Adaska continued: “He was saying he was down on his luck, just getting out of jail or some correctional facility, and was trying to drum up some money by selling magazines.”

Adaska said the man stopped for about 10 minutes.

“He was very disarming, said a lot of jokes, questions, made you laugh. He made you feel disarmed, and he was just there to offer his service. I wasn’t buying it, to say the least. It seemed a little fishy, especially for being here so late and offering services at that time on a Friday night. It just seemed out of place,” Adaska said. “We told him we are aware of this being a possible scam and our neighbors are, as well.”

But Adaska said the man did not immediately leave the area.

“He actually went over to one of my neighbor’s house, but they’re even more hard-nosed than I am, so that was not fruitful for him,” Adaska said.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville released the following statement about the incident:

“Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville is aware that at least one individual in or around Jacksonville, Florida, is representing to the public that fees paid by customers for magazine subscriptions sold to them by the individual are being donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville. Ronald McDonald House Charities and its Chapters have no affiliation whatsoever with the individual selling magazines, and thus any uses of the Ronald McDonald House Charities name or trademarks by the individual are without authorization.”

Diane Boyle, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville

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