Prosecutors accuse Missouri funeral business of fraud
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Officers at a prearranged funeral business defrauded customers, funeral homes and states out of as much as $600 million, according to a 50-count federal indictment announced Monday.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis announced indictment on fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and other charges against Randall Sutton, 65; Sharon Nekol Province, 66; Doug Cassity, 64; his son, Brent Douglas Cassity, 43; Howard Wittner, 73; and David Wulf, 58.
All six defendants are from St. Louis County, and all were controlling officers for National Prearranged Services Inc., based in Clayton, Mo.
The indictment alleges a complicated scheme that caused financial losses for individuals, funeral homes and state insurance guarantee associations.
Among other things, the indictment alleges that National Prearranged Services illegally removed large amounts of money from prearranged funeral trusts. Money taken from those trusts was allegedly used by Doug Cassity to buy residential real estate, finance business projects for affiliated companies, and to pay his personal expenses.
“IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to investigating individuals who allegedly use their businesses as personal piggy banks,” said Toni Weirauch of the Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation office in St. Louis.
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