Funeral & Cemetery Scams Explained by NY Criminal Defense Lawyer
Funeral home fraud and cemetery fraud are frequently scams targeted at the elderly because seniors are generally more likely to use funeral services than younger people. However, these scams can be targeted at people of all ages after a death has occurred.
Funeral fraud takes many different forms. Some funeral homes charge seniors or other consumers excessive fees for funeral services or charge for unnecessary products or services, such as claiming a costly casket needs to be purchased even for a cremation. In other cases, fraud scams target people after obituaries are printed and aim to improperly obtain funds. If you are accused of involvement in any type of funeral home fraud, you could face serious criminal charges and- if your funeral home is implicated- you could face threats to continued business operations.
Bukh law firm, PLLC provides legal representation to individual clients as well as to funeral homes accused of breaking the law by operating a scam. If you have been accused of wrongdoing and you want to fight the serious charges against you, our New York City criminal defense law firm can assist you in the development of a comprehensive defense strategy.
What are Funeral Home Scams?
Funeral home scams can involve overcharging and being dishonest with consumers about funeral services. There are myriad state and federal regulations applicable to funeral homes, according to the AARP. Funeral homes are required to provide a price list for goods and services; for caskets; and for grave liners or outer burial containers.
The FTC sometimes conducts undercover visits to see if funeral homes are following these rules. You could face regulatory action if the FTC visits your business and you have failed to fulfill requirements. If the funeral home is found to actually be making fraudulent statements to consumers in the form of material omissions or material misleading statements, criminal charges could also result.
Funeral homes may also provide a lower quality product than promised, and may pressure those who come to arrange funerals to sign an insurance assignment in order to ensure payment. Up-selling or aggressive sales tactics are not illegal, but if the sales tactics are is in violation of consumer protection laws or if tactics cross the line into directly misleading consumers, this could trigger legal action.
Another common funeral scam involves engaging in efforts to obtain money from the survivors of the deceased. After reading obituaries, the relatives of the deceased are called or a visit is made. The scam involves informing relatives that the deceased owed an outstanding debt which must be paid. Relatives sometimes give in to this extortion and provide money to pay off the fake debt.
How Can a NY Funeral Fraud Lawyer Help With Funeral Home Scams or Cemetery Fraud?
When you are reported for participation in funeral home scams, you could be investigated by state or federal law enforcement. You could face a civil action, regulatory action, or criminal prosecution depending upon the nature of the alleged wrongdoing. You need to be prepared to respond to all legal problems, including serious charges that could potentially result in penalties including jail time.
Bukh law firm, PLLC understands the rules applicable to funeral home operations and we understand the laws surrounding the types of criminal charges that frequently result from participation in funeral home scams or cemetery fraud. If you or your funeral home has been accused of wrongdoing and you want a dedicated legal advocate on your side to help you to respond assertively and strategically to the accusations, give us a call as soon as possible.