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Prearranged funeral scammers sentenced to a total of 36 years

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - It was a half billion dollar scam.  Six people now face prison time for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars meant for the dead.  And it happened under the noses of regulators for decades.

The operators of NPS traveled the world on their spending spree. It was like they had blank checks that no one would catch them writing.  It caught up with them today as they found out the years they'll spend in prison, but not before they enjoy the holidays.

I asked Brent Cassity, "Viewers want to know, did you think you were entitled to that money?" Cassity responded, "I have no comment."

That's all he had to say as he walked out of Federal Court with his family.  He`ll serve five years in prison.  His Dad, Doug, will serve 9 and a half.

They`re accused of defrauding people out of millions, while running a prearranged funeral services company called National Prearranged Services or NPS.

The exact number has changed in the days before today's sentencing. Today the judge said the convicts will repay more than $435 million.

Credit card statements from a civil court file show they spent lavishly at places like Barney`s in New York, where they charged $5,200 -- $6,600 charged at the Nantucket Boat Basin and 20 grand at the Four Seasons in Shanghai, China.

Records also show NPS contributed about one hundred thousand dollars to politicians.

Funeral Director Todd Mahn, of Mahn Funeral Homes said, "I 100% believe they had political influence."

Mahn attended Thursday's sentencing. He said he used to warn customers about NPS and it almost cost him a spot on the State Oversight Board. He said, "I ruffled some feathers with the Cassitysand they had hired a lobbyist by the name of Kent Gaines who was trying to block my confirmation to the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. I ultimately got confirmed, but uh some of my legislature friends said they`d never seen anything that serious before. They (the Cassitys) didn`t want me on that board and then a few months later we found out $600 million was missing.

Mahn said he asked to meet with Governor Nixon about the missing money, but he said the Governor declined.  The next year, the Feds indicted the Cassitys and four others.

The courtroom was very emotional. An associate of the Cassitys cussed at a victim who`s lost millions, yelling at him to shut his (blankin') mouth.

Six people are going to prison and in every case, the judge allowed them to show up after the holidays.

Others include David Wulf, 61. He aced trial in August and was convicted by a jury on 18 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, and wire fraud affecting a financial institution. The Judge sentenced him today to 10 years in prison.

The remaining defendants pleaded guilty, including both Cassitys.

James Douglas Cassity, 67, received the longest sentence of 115 months imprisonment after admitting that he organized and led the fraudulent enterprise.

The former CEO of Lincoln Memorial Life Insurance Company, Randall K. Sutton, 68, received a sentence of 84 months imprisonment.

Brent Douglas Cassity, 46, a one-time officer of NPS, received a sentence of 60 months imprisonment.

Howard A. Wittner, 76, an attorney for the companies, received a sentence of 36 months imprisonment.

Former NPS President Sharon Nekol Province, 69, received a sentence of 18 months imprisonment.

Previous story: Lavish lifestyles billed to the dead

6 comments

  • Meg Wiles

    Not nearly enough time for this crew. That victim who was cussed is a fine upstanding business owner who – daily rectified the damage these criminals have done. By no means should these funeral home have to absorb the monies these guys blew on lavish vacations and shopping sprees. My biggest question: Why in God’s name was this allowed to go on for so long when so many knew about it? I truly hope they are buried in pauper’s graves – as they deserve.

  • ByeByeToTheRite

    Ah, the usual: Stole MILLIONS from thousands of people, real crooks, yet they get LESS time than the guy the other day with pics of naked young girls on his PC. Yep – that’s our religious law, and stealing apparently isn’t against our phony religion. Or our phony judges.

    • ByeByeToTheRite

      Oh, and they contributed to politicians? Why not tell us which ones? Because we KNOW it was Tea Party Republicans – their brothers in arms. They’re just HARD working successful businessmen! And make sure they have Christmas! Meanwhile, send the $5 shoplifter to prison for 10 years. These guys will be out in two – they have money.

      • Michael D.

        Wrong… They contributed to both Republicans and Democrats but two of the largest recipients of their donations were Nixon and Carnahan. They won’t be out in two years either. There isn’t any parole in the federal jail system. They have to serve 85-90% of their sentence. Still very light sentences though considering the size of the crime.

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