Doug Cassity and his partners were charged with defrauding people out of millions of dollars while running a prepaid funeral services company called NPS.
Investigators say nationwide losses were almost $500 million dollars.
While the financial toll is extensive, the emotional toll was heartbreaking.
”When our victims came in to claim the pre-arranged services that they paid for to bury their loved one, there was no money available; this was very difficult for them to deal with,” says Donald Washington, US Postal Inspector.
Inspectors say the long-term scam was run like a ponzi scheme - new clients were paying off old claims.
”For a long time the payments were made by people and you heard funeral homes saying 'They are paying me right on time' and again. That is not unusual in a scheme as proven by the US prosecutors office,” says Donald Otto Jr, Funeral Directors Association.
That’s until the money began running out and NPS starting making desperate offers.
”Then just before things began to collapse the NPS announced a new program instead of giving you the growth on your money you were supposed to get, instead you get a new casket,” says Otto.
By then, NPS was under federal investigation. Total number of victims: four thousand
”They misappropriated those funds by using those funds to buy expensive gifts for their own personal gain such as cars, homes, and trips. When the victims needed that money during a time when their loved ones need to be buried, those funds were no longer available,” says Washington.
Doug Cassity received a nine year prison sentence, his son got five years. The two men along with other partners were also ordered to pay more than $400 million dollars in restitution.