Director of nonprofit behind ‘People’s Convoy’ pleaded guilty to fraud – The Washington Post

The group set a goal of $5 million to fuel its fight and claimed to have collected $1.5 million by Monday, eliciting growing support across the country from people who’ve cheered at rallies, demonstrated from chilly highway overpasses, and taken to social media to profess a loss of faith in government, politicians, media and other institutions they paint as corrupt and out of touch.

They want to do something, so they give. In this case, to the AFCLF Foundation, which launched last year and names as its executive director a Texas woman named Pamela Milacek, whose arrest is sought, records show, by authorities who allege she violated the terms of her community supervision after pleading guilty to felony fraud and exploitation charges in 2020.

Dundas, Marston and other boosters tout the growing numbers of supporters for the convoy, which left California on Feb. 23 and has amassed about 300,000 followers on Facebook. The organizers have not detailed their plans beyond saying they won’t enter the city after arriving in the D.C. area this weekend.

While the AFCLF kept soliciting donations for the U.S. truckers Thursday, Marston — after fielding questions from The Post about its role — alluded to possible changes. “There are dynamics going on that may change how this all plays out,” he said, without elaborating. “Whatever the plan is would change massively as of tomorrow, including whether or not we are involved.”

The AFCLF’s website and incorporation paperwork give its address as the 8th floor of 10 Post Office Square in Boston, which is a co-working space and address that businesses can use to put on “business cards, licensing, website, etc.,” for a promotional rate of $80 per month, according to advertising for the space. It’s the same address Marston gives as headquarters for his firm Exemplar Law, which he started in 2005 just after graduating from law school.

Marston said Thursday that an Exemplar employee, Steven R. Monticone, has an office inside the co-working space, “and we allow the foundation to use that space.” Monticone, who is the registered agent for the AFCLF Foundation, did not return messages. An online tour of the co-working space shows an office with Monticone’s name by the door.

Marston declined this week to provide The Post a copy of the AFCLF’s application to become a nonprofit organization. The IRS granted the AFCLF status as a 501(c)(3) private foundation in August, records show. Marston said the foundation’s leadership has broadened since he created it. “Obviously I started the thing, but then we implemented a board and everything else,” he said.

Marston said the foundation brought on four full-time employees last month as it prepared to support the convoy, including Milacek, who already had been acting executive director for about six months but “didn’t need to be” full time until the nonprofit group undertook collecting convoy donations.

Milacek received community supervision and deferred adjudication in the cases, court records show. In October, after authorities said she failed to report to her supervision officer, pay court costs and complete an anti-theft program, a judge ordered a warrant for Milacek’s arrest. The Collin County Sheriff’s Office said this week they have no record of her having been arrested.

Milacek declined to comment about the AFCLF, referring questions to Marston, and she did not return subsequent messages about her guilty pleas. Asked about Milacek’s criminal record, Marston said via text message Wednesday “You must have a completely different person but Pam has no record buddy.”

A crowd of hundreds cheered the convoy from an overpass in Eureka, Mo., on Tuesday as it took about 30 minutes to pass underneath. Police had blocked the overpass to traffic to accommodate those who lamented loss of liberty and grieved over the direction of the country — a feeling many traced to the results of the 2020 election.

Joyce Soroka, who spent more than a year estranged from some family members because she refused to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, named others who had been required to take the shot, in protest: “This is for the Mollys, the Jakes, the Justins,” she said, standing with her mother and other convoy supporters wearing and waving American flags.

On Thursday, as the convoy left Indiana and headed toward Ohio, Indiana State Police spokesman Capt. Ron Galaviz estimated there were about 550 vehicles, mostly cars or pickup trucks but also about 160 semi-tractors or tractor-trailers. Organizers, including Marston, have put the convoy’s number at more than 1,000.

People from other states, including the Northeast region, have posted their own routes on social media in the hope of meeting up with the People’s Convoy when it arrives in the D.C. region. However, supporters have been joining and leaving throughout the cross-country trip, making it difficult for officials to predict the size of the group before it reaches a destination.

Brase estimated fuel costs had been about $10,000 per day. Marston, who said the number of vehicles in the convoy is “doubling every day,” estimated fuel costs much higher. “You can figure fuel cost at around $50,000 a day, maybe more,” he said. “Probably by the middle to the end of it, it could be $100,000 a day. So, just the fuel, I mean forget about food and lodging issues. And there’s just a lot of logistics and coordination and permits sometimes. So it’s expensive to run this sort of thing.”

“The truckers are on the finance committee and there’s a lawyer, accountant. I mean, there’s a lot of oversight and making sure money goes to the right needs on the ground for the truckers,” he said. “The truckers have agreed if there was any extra that they’re going to be involved in selecting nonprofits that are civil-liberties-related and appropriate — and they may give to charity and back to communities.”