Deathcare Industry Scandal Roundup (Stories of Skullduggery)
It’s that time again. Let’s gas up the hearse. Here are some funeral home and cemetery scandal stories from around the world.
Funeral home director Neil Edward Gray has been charged with stealing from the dead. People claim to have been defrauded in connection with their pre-need burial plans. And families have accused Gray of stealing jewelery and personal items from the corpses. [Source]
Burr Oak Scandal (Illinois)
Burr Oak is the cemetery at the center of a widespread grave desecration scandal. The cemetery engaged in a scheme where it dug up bodies from unmarked graves to make room for new burials and to re-sell the plots. The unearthed bodies were dumped in different areas inside the cemetery. The state has brought criminal charges against the cemetery’s manager and three of the workers.
Now, a new investigation related to the bankruptcy case reports that conditions at Burr Oak Cemetery are much worse than thought — the number of bodies unearthed and dumped is much higher.
“It’s our hope that this report, once and for all, makes clear that if you dig at any level in these areas, you’re going to find human bones, pieces of coffins and God knows what else,” said Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart. “We know this cemetery likely reached its capacity years ago, so any digging for graves already paid for is being done with the utmost of caution. But even with those, we regularly receive calls asking for our detectives, because something has been discovered.”
In other Burr Oak news, a proposed agreement reached in U.S. Bankruptcy court provides a compensation package for families of people buried in the cemetery. Under terms of the agreement, families will receive a payment of a whopping $100. [source]
Arlington National Cemetery (Virginia)
This past summer, an Army investigation found that hundreds of remains at Arlington National Cemetery have been misidentified or misplaced. Now, officials are reporting additional errors including a single grave that held eight remains, and many graves where the names of family members were never added to the headstones. [The Washington Post]
Clayton Smart , the 71-year-old oil and gas investor turned funeral home scammer, plead guilty to stealing millions of dollars from pre-need funeral policies of more than 13,000 families in Tennessee and Michigan. Smart leveraged his oil and gas holding to purchase a chain of funeral homes. Then, he drained the funeral homes of all the cash in their accounts from consumers who had pre-paid for their funerals. Last week, the court sentenced him to 10 years in prison. For his crimes, Mr. Smart deserves to be buried in an unmarked mass grave. [source]
That concludes your tour of the deathcare industry. See you on the other side.