Funeral insurance company owner pleads guilty to fraud

July 4, 2013 at 11:05 AM
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ST. LOUIS, July 4 (UPI) -- The owner of a defunct funeral service insurance company in Missouri pleaded guilty to charges he illegally used company funds for personal gain.

James "Doug" Cassity, 67, of Clayton, Mo., pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of mail fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of misappropriation of an insurance premium, the St. Louis (Mo.) Post-Dispatch reported Thursday.

As the owner of National Prearranged Services Inc., he was accused of diverting $600 million in funds that should have been held in reserve for policy users for a long list of personal and commercial uses. The company closed in 2008.

Federal attorney Richard Callahan said the case includes 150,000 victims who paid up to $10,000 for policies that would cover funeral costs when they died.

Authorities allege $900,000 of company money was used to buy a house in Nantucket, Mass., in 2001 and $4.6 million was used to buy an insurance company in 2004.

Doug Cassity's son, Brent Cassity, also pleaded guilty Wednesday to mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and willfully permitting a felon -- his father -- to exercise significant control over an insurance company, the newspaper said.

The two are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 7. Doug Cassity could get up to 115 months in federal prison and Brent Cassity is expected to serve five years or less.

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