(KTVI)– The Fox Files found Missouri`s Governor may have made it possible for a scheme to bilk consumers out of millions. Jay Nixon heard warnings years ago, when he was Missouri’s Attorney General. Fox 2’s Chris Hayes asked the now Governor for answers about a criminal enterprise that seemed to get a free pass for more than a decade.
It’s now described as a $600 million dollar scam. The players spent lavishly on the backs of the dead. Credit card statements, which we’ve attached to this report, show a $64,000 charge at a yacht club. More than $20,000 charged at a Four Season’s hotel in China. Even when they just wanted some fudge, they spent more than $2,000.
42,000 Missourians died thinking they’d paid for their funerals. They died hoping to spare their families the burden. We now know $600 million prepaid, went straight into the pockets of high profile men who operated National Prearranged Services (NPS).
Many were involved, but two are father and son — disbarred attorney Doug Cassity and his son Brent Cassity. Brent posted pictures of his apparent luxury vacations on Facebook.
Connie James, of James and Gahr Mortuary commented, “They`ve already conned everybody why – why – they`re no different then Madoff.”
James says most families, who bought into the funeral scam, won`t lose. A Missouri insurance fund will pick up what customers paid, but funeral homes will pay thousands more per burial.
Reporter Chris Hayes asked James, “Have you figured out what that is?”
James responded, “No I don`t want to know. I don`t want to know.”
She does want to know why no one caught the scheme a decade ago.
Hayes asked James, “Were our politicians played?”
James responded, “Oh absolutely, totally in the pocket.”
Hayes followed up, “Why do you say that?”
James smiled, “Oh mmm, I need some water real quick.”
She says regulators knew in 1995. Jay Nixon was Attorney General at the time. James showed me a court document, which was a warning from an independent auditor. She continued, “Lock, McBride came in every 6 months, did an audit and they wrote letters (saying), ‘There’s no money, they`re taking the money.'”
It was January 9th, 1995. The auditor warned, “NPS did not deposit $1,000,000 in cash, as required.” The auditor told the court – “only 83,333.33…has been deposited.”
Instead of enforcing the cash deposits, Jay Nixon`s office entered into a deal with NPS, seven months later. It stated “NPS may use the $1,000,000…to purchase paid-up insurance policies.”
James said “Well that`s what they did. They took everybody`s and did it.”
But some of the policies were from a Life Insurance Company, operated by the same scammers.
I caught up with Governor Nixon after his office would not commit to an explanation.
Chris Hayes asked, “Can you tell me why your office changed the deal and allowed NPS to buy insurance?
Jay Nixon responded, “For 20 years there have been law enforcement interactions and certainly I appreciate the U.S. Attorney`s efforts as this hopefully nears its conclusion.”
The Governor would not directly answer. When he was A.G., he also dealt with NPS in 2005, when he demanded the prearranged funeral company to “more closely monitor (its) contracts.” That same year, we found NPS donated $4,000 to Nixon`s campaign for Governor, then another $2,000 the next year.
I asked Governor Nixon about the appearance and he said this, “Uh, I, I, none of that stuff affects anything. Any decision made then or now and it`s not relevant to the overall justice. Thanks guys…” and he walked away.
Connie James just wishes she knew about these deals earlier. She says the court documents were sealed for years. When NPS crashed, she assumed the State of Missouri had held NPS to the law. Even NPS`s own contracts stated the cash was put in trust.
NPS made political contributions across the board, to both democrats and republicans. We asked Governor Nixon about the money he accepted because of the decisions his office made regarding NPS.
Coming up on Fox 2 News at Ten, we’ll show you the credit card statements that you won’t believe. See for yourself, the lavish appetite as these guys globetrotted.
Wine Spectrum – 4/18/00 – $2,037
Shutters on the Beach (Santa Monica) – 4/2/00- $6,552
Barney’s New York – 11/14/07 – $5,288
Nantucket Boat Basin – 11/8/7 – $6,666.68
Four Seasons (Shanghai) – 7/31/06 – $21,082.08
United Airlines – 7/25/06 – $23,179.50
Fraser Yachts, Ft. Lauderdale – 11/27/07 – $64,286
Aero Charter (private jet) – 1/8/02 – $29,310.67
Aunt Leah’s Fudge – 12/12/07 – $2,594.35
This is just a small sampling from dozens of credit card statements belonging to NPS representatives. These statements were obtained from a Federal Civil Lawsuit. Click here to read the full list.