Fake funerals held in insurance scheme?

LOS ANGELES The two women are now facing federal fraud charges. One mortuary director pleaded guilty to her involvement in the scam. The duo is accused of defrauding insurance companies of nearly $300,000.

The federal government alleges that thousands of dollars were wired to accounts tied to a Long Beach mortuary, which is now closed. Its owner has pleaded guilty to charges in connection with what the /*U.S. Attorney*/'s office calls a sham.

In the indictment, Faye Shilling and Jean Crump are accused of obtaining life insurance policies on a man named "Jim Davis" from /*American General Life Insurance*/ for $450,000 and /*Conseco Life Insurance*/ for $250,000.

"These are individuals who obtained life insurance policies. They then paid the premiums on those policies until those policies matured. So they obviously were very patient," said Anthony Montero, assistant U.S. Attorney. "They then participated in fake funerals and staged fake cremations in order to further establish that the life insurances should be paid."

According to the indictment, "Jim Davis" was buried in /*Avid Memorial Park*/ in Compton. He was given a funeral, according to court papers. But Jim Davis doesn't exist and there was no body buried at the memorial park.

Shortly after the Davis funeral, Conseco paid out just over $232,000 in benefits.

The women are also accused of scamming /*Chesapeake Life Insurance*/ for a policy taken out for a woman named "Laura Urich," who doesn't exist either. The policy was for $50,000. Court records indicate Shilling was paid $34,000 for the policy.

Eyewitness News contacted Jean Crump by phone. She said, "All I was asked to do is fill out some paperwork." She added that she was told to show up to court on Monday.

The indictment says Crump was paid $12,000 for her involvement in the sham and that she offered a doctor $50,000 to falsify a death certificate.

Eyewitness News asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Montero if a doctor would be arrested in connection with the case. Montero would only say the investigation is ongoing, which may include more arrests.

The two women were charged with five counts of mail and wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison. The women are both in their 60s. So with all counts combined, they may spend the rest of their lives in prison.



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