Arrests made in fake funeral scam case

April 9, 2009 at 3:04 PM
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LONG BEACH, Calif., April 9 (UPI) -- Two women have been arrested on charges they conducted fake funerals in Long Beach, Calif., in order to collect on insurance policies, authorities say.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Montero alleges Faye Schilling, 60, and Jean Crump, 66, purchased insurance policies on nonexistent people in order to collect on the policies by orchestrating the fictitious individuals' deaths and funerals, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

"The level of deception is shocking," Montero said. "You'd like to think that funerals happening in funeral homes ... are legitimate and real."

A federal grand jury indictment alleges the women created fake death certificates for their imaginary victims. The women allegedly claimed in county paperwork, the individuals' nonexistent remains would be cremated and dispersed at sea, the Times said.

Montero told the newspaper Lydia Eileen Pearce, 37, owner of Steward-Pearce Mortuary in Long Beach, Calif., has pleaded guilty to charges in relation to the funeral scam, along with notary Barbara Lynn, 54.

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