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Founder of local non profit pleads guilty to fraud

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Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 10:03 pm | Updated: 9:07 pm, Thu Feb 13, 2014.

SARASOTA-- The founder of a local non profit organization has pleaded guilty to fraud and could spend the next ten years behind bars.

In Federal Court on Thursday, Lyndon Jones admitted to pocketing over $76 thousand dollars from the Federal Government, that was supposed to be used for his organization, Man Up Incorporated.

Court documents indicate that from 2009-2011, Jones fraudulently double-billed the government for money that would be used to pay the teenagers in his organization. Man Up finds teens summer internships and pays them in the process.

"It is kind of shocking," said 20-year-old Tevin Watts, who was involved with the organization in 2011. "It is outside of his (Jones) character. He stayed on top of us."

In order to get the federal funding, the City of Sarasota would have to oversee the process. Dick Clapp, who is a former Commissioner, says he feels let down.

"I'm very disappointed that happened. He seemed very open and very community oriented. I'm sure he still is, but there is a big cloud hanging over him right now," said Clapp.

Jones is scheduled to be sentenced soon. We attempted to reach him for comment, but our calls were not returned. His lawyer, Gino Lombardi, refused to speak with us.

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