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Monday, May 12, 2008

Funeral Scams Targeted

Posted By on Mon, May 12, 2008 at 3:30 PM

By: Jeremy Alford

The actual dying part isn’t the only way to get screwed in death. That’s why Sen. Eric LaFleur, a Ville Platte Democrat, is pushing legislation that would require an itemized list of all merchandise and services for which consumers pay funeral directors. Senate Bill 806 calls for funeral contracts to include detailed casket descriptions to prevent unscrupulous “bait and switch” tactics.

But the real target is so-called “pre-need contracts,” which are basically pre-paid funeral arrangements. Funds that have been set up nationwide to hold the money as it collects interest are being drained for nefarious purposes, leaving the families of the deceased in a lurch. The National Funeral Directors Association estimates that more than $30 million in pre-need funds have been stolen from consumers nationwide since January. Closer to home, the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors is currently investigating the theft of consumer pre-need funds in southwest Louisiana, with total losses perhaps exceeding $500,000

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