Safe from Scams: Funeral Scams

FRESNO, Calif.

Clarence Corter thought he put his funeral worries to rest after buying a casket from a company called "Celestial Burials".

The 30-year veteran found the ad for the casket in the VFW Magazine.

Betty Corter, the victim of the fraud said, "We ordered a casket with an air force insignia on it, and then we ordered one for me too because they were less expensive."

Several years later, Clarence passed away, so Betty called celestial burials.

"We called the funeral home to let them know the casket would be shipped to them in 24 hours," said Betty.

But, that did not happen when Betty's family arrived at the funeral home.

Betty Corter said, "We were going to the viewing. When we got to the funeral home he was lying on a table."

Betty and her children had to immediately pay an additional and unexpected $3,500 for a casket, but some families cannot afford to buy a casket on the spot. The funeral directors say do your research.

Joseph Lapinski, the funeral director, said, "With the advent of the technology we have today, the internet and word of mouth, has anybody else done business with these people, are they people of their word. That is the crux of any business."

Postal inspectors say the Corter family is among almost 5,000 victims who lost more than $2.4 million dollars to the scheme.

Sadly, many were WWII veterans.

Don Rood, a U.S. Postal inspector said, "At the sentencing, the judge said there was no doubt in his mind that given the opportunity the suspect would do it all over again."

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