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Indictments issued in massive funeral scheme

By Rachel Lippmann

St. Louis, MO – A Chesterfield man has been indicted on federal charges that he defrauded customers who had purchased prepaid funerals from his company.

Acting U.S. attorney Michael Reap announced the charges against 63-year-old Randall Sutton on Friday. Sutton was the top official at National Prearranged Services in Clayton, which sold the prepaid funeral plans in 19 states. The plans allow customers to pay upfront with the promise that no additional payments will be required when a funeral is needed.

The nine-count indictment alleges that over 10 years, Sutton used a variety of deceptions to take money from the National Prearranged Services and Lincoln Memorial Life, a company from which Sutton had purchased life insurance policies that would be used to pay for the funerals. The siphoning left both companies unable to meet their obligations, and both collapsed in 2008.

Sutton is also accused of lying to investigators who began to examine National Prearranged in 2007. He is also accused of falsely claiming to be licensed by the Missouri Department of Insurance.

Sutton faced six counts of felony mail fraud, one felony count of money laundering, and two felony wire fraud counts.