Tag Archives: preneed

Former Funeral Director charged with Defrauding-YourFuneralGuy

17 Jan
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20:  Funeral director Pete...
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A former Funeral Director in Michigan has been charged with defrauding Customers. In this case The director not only hurt the families that bought preneed or prepaid policies he also hurt the former business owner of the Funeral Home.

This serves as a warning to those who want to exit the funeral industry and the need to check out who and how they dispose of their business.

Mr. Prochnow had purchased the business portion of the Bennett Funeral Home on S. Dixie Hwy. just south of Albain Rd. in 2006 from Darrell Bennett, who retired with his wife to Florida after selling the business.
But Mr. Bennett, now 78 years old, said monthly payments were not paid and he discovered other payments for services were ignored. Over the past several years, he said he personally lost a total of about $325,000 to bad business. When he returned from Florida this summer to take over operations, the company was in shambles.
Mr. Bennett said the building was not properly cared for — there wasn’t hot water — and the vehicles, including the hearse and limousine, were being repossessed though he had paid them off 10 to 15 years ago.
“I can never imagine anything of this magnitude ever happening,” Mr. Bennett said. “It’s put me in the biggest hole I’ve ever been in my lifetime.”
In addition to accusations of stealing money from Mr. Bennett, Mr. Prochnow has been charged with accepting prepaid funeral payments and using the money for his own benefit.

via www.monroenews.com

This shows that just taking a bank note may not be the best strategy, may not be the best strategy in exiting the funeral business- in an age of Funeral industry decline, when profits are down and cremation is on the rise.

Funeral industry| Funeral News | funeral blog by Your Funeral Guy

This article presents one more reason as to why one should not purchase funeral preneed or aprepaid funeral.

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25 Funeral trends for 2011-Your Funeral Guy

12 Jan
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Here are 25 funeral industry trends, funeral industry and Funeral predictions for 2011.

1. Traditional Funeral Industry will continue to decline.

2. Funeral Home profits will continue  be less.

3.The Number of “Lower Cost” or discount Funeral Homes will grow.

4. Cremation will continue to rise.

5. Funeral preneed scandals will continue to abound.

6. More bodies will be put in the wrong graves.

7. The number of people  cremated wrongly(mistakes) will grow.

8. More and more Funeral  facilities will be used for other services(like weddings and birthdays)

9 Number of Non Claimed bodies will continue to increase.

10. The use of  temporary Funeral Workers will grow.

11. More Funeral vendors will sell and communicate directly with the consumer.

12 Funeral homes will continue to use social media(facebook-Twitter etc) to communicate with Customers.

13. Video will continue to be important in communicating with the funeral customer

14 Funeral Industry companies will continue to diversify, going outside the Funeral Industry for income sources.

15. Home Funerals will increase.

16. Green Funerals and green burials will rise.

17. Funeral home’s will continue to aggressively market through their websites and blogs..

18. Funeral Homes and Funeral company mergers will be more will be more and more

19. Legacy.com will continue it’s worldwide obituary empire.

20 . The use of Part time funeral directors will continue to grow.

21. Alkaline Hydrolysis as a form of disposition  will continue  to be accepted

22.Alkaline Hydrolysis machines will be in installed in more countries in the World Including the USA.

23.Alliances and financial agreements will continue to grow between funeral companies, vendors and funeral homes.

24. Funeral Cartels will continue to protect themselves from the free market. This has been addressed in several blog posts. The Cartels being companies and associations gaining protection from the courts and the State Legislatures.

25. The Bereaved Consumers Bill of Rights  Act will die in The US House of Representatives due to the Elelection of the Republicans



Funeral industry| Funeral News| Funeral Blog will continue

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Illinos Preneed Scam seeks appeal in Court-Your Funeral Guy

7 Jan
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Over a year and a half ago Icanceled my membership in Illinois Funeral Directors Association. Paying an organization that questionably handled folks  funeral preneed funds  to the tune of nearly 100 million dollars is simply something I could not do!

Recently because of other questionable actions the judge has stated that the insurance company for the Illinois Funeral Directors Association did not have to insure the debacle,  theft or ponzi scheme. Now it appears that the IFDA, Illinois Funeral Directors Association is appealing that decision.

The Illinos Funeral Directors Association has decided to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that IFDA’s insurer would not be responsible for claims resulting from litigation surrounding the association’s beleaguered Master Trust …………

“Our lawyers believe that there are several arguments that can be made during the appeal that may allow for this ruling to be overturned,” said Duane Marsh, IFDA executive director. He noted that the appeal process can take up to 12 months depending upon the court’s schedule.

via memorialbusinessjournal.wordpress.com

Funeral Industry |Funeral News | Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy

This Funeral Scandal has seen no national coverage. Tere has been very little coverage of this funeral Preneed Scandal outside of Springfield. Illinois!

Your Funeral guy Blogs covered this scandal extensively for several years. The situation now is in the Hands of the courts.

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Funeral Industry:Top 10 Articles in 2010-Your Funeral Guy

2 Jan Top Ten Funeral Websites for 2010

1. TV special Shows what it is like to die

If you or a loved one have thought you may die, it may be a good idea to catch the PBS frontline special”FACING DEATH”.

Would you go to intensive care to die? How long should someone receive treatment? Check out the video.

via www.yourfuneralguy.com

2. Top Three Funeral books in 2010.

There have been three great funeral books published in 2010 that can help with Funerals and your funeral cost. These book state the principles first  presented in Rest in Peace: Insider Tips to the Low Cost  Less Stress Funeral (a groundbreaking 2008 funeral cost book)

via yourfuneralguy.wordpress.com

3. The Average Cost of A Funeral In 2010.

The  Average Cost of A Funeral in 2010 is between $8300 USD and $8500 USD. When Cremations are taken out of the Mix the average cost of a Traditional Funeral is between $9500 and $10,000 USD. This is the average funeral cost for 2010.via www.yourfuneralguy.com

4. The USA will be at the center of a new form of final Disposition: Alkaline Hydrolysis

United States is at the Forefront of Resomation or Green Cremation. The main  companies  are in the United States  that are making and distributing Green, Resomation, Alkaline Hydroylsis, Machines.

via yourfuneralguy.wordpress.com

5.The Bereaved go Bargain Hunting-MSN Money

This article  will help you save money on your or your loved ones funeral, do a lower cost funeral Save on Funeral Cost.

The article is entitled.Funeral traditions wilt as consumers consider the costs

  • Skip the preservative. “Forgo embalming,” says Burkhardt. “Under the law — the Funeral Rule — you have the right to forgo embalming. That can save you between $600 and $800 on the funeral.” Want a traditional funeral anyway? Just choose a closed casket, Burkhardt says. “If the body’s not viewed, it doesn’t have to be embalmed.”
  • Buy that box on the Web. “Get the casket online,” Burkhardt says. “Do not buy it from the funeral home, because — and they hate me when I say this — caskets at the funeral home are marked up between 100 and 500%,” with occasional exceptions, he says. No other single item is so expensive. “I got a $4,000 oversized casket on the Internet (for a friend), and it was delivered to the funeral home the next day, and I paid $1,037.” Today some of the big-box stores, including Costco, sell caskets, too.
  • Shop before you drop. Seek out a low-cost funeral home — one that forgoes limousines, fancy hearses and other trappings. “Prices can vary by $4,000 or $5,000 for a funeral,” says Burkhardt, depending on the amenities offered. But many survivors don’t shop around for deals because they consider bargain hunting an affront to the dead. Getting fleeced, however, is hardly a tribute. Shop around in advance, he says. Even a few quick calls to compare prices once a relative dies can be worthwhile.

via articles.moneycentral.msn.com

6.Plan Ahead Save on Your Funeral,You cannot cheat death but maybe you can get a good deal from the undertaker(Funeral Director).

This is an excellent article on saving on Funeral cost, It also has tips on how to negotiate funeral cost with the funeral director.

7.Lewis: R.I.P.-off: Blog on funeral industry shows schemers know no depths – The Denver Post

This article explores the indictment in the National Prearrange Services Scandal where some executives made off with billions of Dollars of Preneed  Funeral Money by using Correction Fluid.

8. Service Corporation International Wrong body Wrong Grave Scandal

Kim L. Perry said she is a New England manager for Houston-based Service Corporation International, which owns Stanetsky Memorial Chapel in Brookline. Perry has been on the board since 2005. Her five-year term expires next month.

Stanetsky(memorial Chapel  buried one body on Aug. 26 in a grave meant for someone else, then exhumed it the next day and replaced the remains with the right body – all without ever pulling permits at the city’s health department,

via yourfuneralguy.wordpress.com

9.  WSJ article on HI and Funeral Cost Decline

The funeral-service products company suffered as economic uncertainties have prompted many families to choose cremation instead …

via yourfuneralguy.wordpress.com

10.Inside Batesville Casket Company:Its dog eat dog

We have reported much here on Batesville Casket Company, and the declining casket sales due to the rise of Cremation and Chinese Caskets. This has been  brought on by the economy and consumers demanding to pay less for Funeral cost.

Now a recent article has revealed the goings on inside of Batesville Casket Co. It’s dog eat dog.

via yourfuneralguy.wordpress.com

Funeral industry| Funeral News Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy

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Your Funeral Guy in Dow Jones Newswires

22 Dec
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Your Funeral Guy has been Featured in the Dow Jones NEWSWIRE  Prepaid Funerals Like Digging Your Own Grave 

December 2, 2010 9:16 a.m. EST

By AL LEWIS
A DOW JONES NEWSWIRES COLUMN

R. Brian Burkhardt is a funeral director in Illinois and Virginia who writes a blog called “Your Funeral Guy.”

It’s filled with handy consumer tips, as is his book, “Rest in Peace, Insider’s Look at the Low Cost Less Stress Funeral.”

Burkhardt also covers the funeral news:

“Mom fakes daughter’s funeral.”

“Father sues after son’s body falls out of casket.”

“Corpses to appear on cigarette packages.”

And, “Unclaimed cremated remains: A growing problem.”

One of the biggest stories on the funeral beat these days involves a St. Louis, Mo., company called National Prearranged Services Inc. and its related businesses operating in several states from Illinois and Ohio to Tennessee and Texas.

Federal prosecutors last week unveiled a 50-count indictment burying six controlling officials in assorted criminal charges: money laundering, conspiracy and wire, bank, mail and insurance fraud.

Defendants are Doug Cassity, 64; his son, Brent Douglas Cassity, 43; Howard Wittner, 73; Randall Sutton, 65; Sharon Nekol Province, 66; and David Wulf, 58.

The indictment alleges they took as much as $600 million that should have gone into trusts and life-insurance policies to cover as many as 150,000 funerals.

“White-out was the main tool,” Burkhardt said. “It’s sounds blastedly simple, but that’s what they did.”

Indeed, one of the many tricks alleged in the federal indictment is altering documents with correction fluid.

Money that should have gone into trusts or to pay life-insurance premiums for the funeral plans were diverted to pay for business investments, luxury homes and jewelry, the Feds allege. A Ponzi scheme for the dead?

Toni Weirauch, special agent in charge of IRS-criminal investigations in St. Louis, said his office “is committed to investigating individuals who allegedly use their businesses as personal piggy banks.”

The losses will go to state insurance guarantee associations, plan purchasers and funeral homes.

Connie James of James and Gahr Mortuaries in St. James, Mo., said her family-owned funeral business put all of its prepaid funeral funds with the company.

A state fund likely will get stuck with most of the tab for the prepaid services her company has contracted to provide, but not all of it. Some of the losses will be hers.

“You just pray every day that you’re going to be here tomorrow,” James said.

She has a name for defendant Doug Cassity, who went to federal prison in the early 1980s for charges stemming from his investment club.

“He is the Bernie Madoff of Missouri,” she said.

She wonders how so blatant an alleged fraud could have gone on for so long in an industry that is supposed to be regulated. Cassity’s criminal past, and issues with underfunded trusts dating back to the 1990s, didn’t set off the alarms until the shortfall was enormous.

“$600 million. That’s a lot of damn funerals,” James said.

National Prearranged Services sold folks on the idea that they could pay today’s prices for tomorrow’s funeral services. Say you put $5,000 down now, and if the funeral you want costs $15,000 due to future inflation, no problem.

“Any product that says, ‘We will cover you no matter how much your prices increase’ is too good to be true,” said Scott Gilligan, general counsel of the National Funeral Directors Association in Brookfield, Wisc.

“That should have been everybody’s first clue,” he said, “because nobody can do that.”

Burkhardt said he’s been warning consumers not to buy prepaid funeral plans for years. “It’s better to a get term life insurance policy and apply that money to the funeral,” he said.

He also says the scale of the National Prearranged Services case shows how easily prepaid funeral funds are diverted, and how long it can take regulators to do something about it.

“Every week, somebody misappropriates pre-need funds, and every two to three weeks somebody gets caught,” Burkhardt said.

“I have had a funeral director tell me, “When I can’t meet my payroll, I just borrow from the pre-need fund.” That’s fraud. But in their minds, it’s kind of their money.”

Burkhardt said he suspects business will go on as usual, despite the news he covers on his blog. Reading up on prearranged funeral plans isn’t something folks always do before they buy.

“People don’t want to talk about death,” he said. “You almost have to trick your mind to think about it. That’s why people buy these plans.”

–(Al’s Emporium, written by Dow Jones Newswires columnist Al Lewis, offers commentary and analysis on a wide range of business subjects through an unconventional perspective. The column is published each Tuesday and Thursday at 9 a.m. ET. He can be reached at 212-416-2617 or by email at al.lewis@dowjones.com, or on his blog at tellittoal.com.)

(We invite readers to send us comments on this or other financial news topics. Please comment on Al Lewis’ blog at http://tellittoal.newswires-americas.com/. We reserve the right to edit and publish your comments along with your name; we reserve the right not to publish reader comments.)

URL for this article:
http://www.djnewsplus.com/article/0,,SB129129867914576950,00.html
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Funeral Industry| Funeral News| Funeral blog by Your Funeral Guy

Due to my stint in ICU and hospitalization it took some time to get this article up.

YOUR FUNERAL GUY HAS BEEN Featured in the Dow Jones News Wires. Your Funeral Guy is quoted but other opinions are mentioned.

ARTICLE FROM  AL’S EMPORIUM
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Illinois Preneed Scandal Explodes upon Association-YourFuneralGuy

16 Dec
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The ongoing Preneed Scandal in Illinois has taken a turn that may effect the financial future of Funeral Directors in Illinois and especially those of former executive Board Members including the current NFDA elected Presitent Randal L. Earl

Board Members of the IFDA may be personally liable for up to 100 million in losses.

The scandal has been going on since 2007 and intimately involves the former Senator Roland Burris(D-IL),

The Fact that some of the  many associations losses will not be covered by their association may in fact be a death blow to the Illinois Funeral Association.

 

A federal judge ruled last week that the insurer for the Illinois Funeral Directors Association would not be responsible for claims resulting from litigation surrounding the association’s beleaguered Master Trust.

In March 2009, Federal Insurance Company, which has provided up to $5 million coverage in business insurance, including coverage for directors and officers of IFDA since 2005, filed suit against IFDA stating it should not have to pay the claims associated with the previous two lawsuits — one in Circuit Court of Kane County and the other by the six funeral directors in Cook County, which alleges mismanagement of the Preneed Trust the fund by IFDA that resulted in millions of dollars in losses. The insurer claimed that IFDA did not notify the company of claims in a timely manner.

In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan sided with Federal Insurance Company ruling that IFDA failed to give the firm proper notice of claims against it.

 

via memorialbusinessjournal.wordpress.com

Your Funeral Guy has been covering this since February 2008  along with the State Journal Register in Springfield, Illinios. Extensive coverage of this subject can be found at yourfuneralguy.com and lowercost funeral.com

This indeed may be the final chapter of the current  Illinois Funeral Directors Association due to the IFDA Preneed Trust Scandal.

Funeral Industry|Funeral News | Funeral Blog By Your Funeral Guy

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National Prearranged Services Executives Indicted-Your Funeral Guy

23 Nov
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National Prearranged Services  (NPS) Executives have been indicted. These are responsible for 600-100 million dollars of preneed insurance funds.

ST. LOUIS | 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.

Brent Cassity is listed in the Missouri secretary of state’s office as the owner of Mount Washington Forever Funeral Home in Independence, which closed in July.

via www.kansascity.com

This is an incriminate story preneed  funeral theft and fraud. Incredibly the main tool in this incredible insurance theft were bottles of white out.

Officers of this company are now part of the criminal Lawsuit.

Funeral Industry| Funeral News | funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy

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