Latest "Funeral News" Posts

Funeral Ethics: Taking Those First Steps on the Slippery Slope

Years of dedicated service can quickly vanish when unethical choices come to light. To be clear, most people don’t wake up one day saying, “I think I’m going to make choices today that will tarnish or eliminate my career and all that I’ve worked for.” The truth is – for most folks – that first steps on the slippery slope of unethical behavior begins with one simple – seemingly insignificant – step. Once started though the consequences can be disastrous. Just ask Larry Foster Stegall, former executive director of the North Carolina Funeral Directors Association.

First Steps on the Slipper SlopeAccording to a report in the Raleigh News and Observer on February 18, 2016, Larry Foster Stegall, age 74 of Wake Forest, NC was charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretenses. The allegation in the charge is that between April 1, 2009, and July 31, 2014, Stegall was improperly paid for travel.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Funeral Fraud, Funeral News and tagged , , , , , ,

Funeral Ethics: Fraud Alleged at Gatens-Harding Funeral Home

There are bad apples in every profession including people who for years were upstanding members of their community.  Most people who make unethical choices don’t wake up one day and decide they will violate – in this case – funeral ethics.  However, this case is an example funeral ethics gone way bad.

Funeral EthicsThe story begins as follows:

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a complaint against Gatens-Harding Funeral Home in Poca, West Virginia.  The complaint includes the funeral home’s owners, Chad and Billie Harding, alleging a violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act and the state’s Preneed Funeral Contracts Act.  According to the complaint alleges those involved misappropriated money from consumers who were trying to prepay their funeral costs.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Business and Personal Ethics, Fraud Pure and Simple, Funeral Fraud, Funeral News and tagged , , , , , ,

Unethical Behavior – Who is Responsible?

As VP of American Funeral Financial I had just finished training a group on a new aspect of our service to the funeral industry.  As the leading provider of insurance advancement funding, it’s important to be clearly attuned to what our clients and their client families want.

Eraser changing the word Unethical for Ethical

Eraser changing the word Unethical for Ethical

We were to the point in the presentation where I opened it up for questions knowing that whatever was thrown at me, I was fully prepared to handle.  Well…that was up until this next question was thrown my way.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Business and Personal Ethics, business ethics, Funeral News and tagged , , ,

National Prearranged Services Fraud = Lengthy Prison Sentences

Every choice has a consequence!  And especially in funeral service, when our customers can be highly vulnerable, it is important if not critical to be cautious about the choices made.  That said, lengthy prison sentences were recently handed down in what is one of the largest frauds in Missouri and certainly one of the largest in the funeral services industry.

National PrearrangedSentenced on more than 40 counts of fraud, money laundering, and related crimes, defendants, acting through National Prearranged Services, Inc. received a total of 36 years’ and one month’s incarceration.  These criminals defrauded more than 97,000 customers in more than 16 states, hundreds of funeral homes, and multiple financial institutions, causing more than $450 million in losses.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in fraud, Fraud Pure and Simple, Funeral Fraud, Funeral News and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Lorraine Bayless died! Was the Nurses’ Inaction Ethical?

Lorraine Bayless died!  A nurse observing her gasping for breath called 911 but took no direct action.  The nurse said it was against company policy.  The question I have to ask as an ethics speaker is – was the nurses’ action or inaction ethical?

I remember so vividly years ago in my college biology class, the quote from my professor which at that moment I took as a grain of salt. At his age of 68, he pretentiously quipped, “Life is one of the profound possessions that we take most for granted until it is on the verge of being taken from us.”

“The clock never stops ticking,” he continued, “and nor should our zeal to relish every moment.”

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics, elder care, ethics, Funeral News, Health Care and tagged , , , , , , ,

National Prearranged Services Officials bring Black Eye to Funeral Industry – Looks like Sutton, Cassity and others have dug themselves a Grave!

Looks like Randall K. Sutton, Sharon Nekol Province, Doug Cassity, Brent Douglas Cassity, Howard A. Wittner, and David R. Wulf, may have two graves in this lifetime – one that will naturally occur at the end of life and the other that they dug for themselves now.  Facing up to 30 years in prison – it’s likely that many named above (if convicted) will spend their last days in federal prison just like Bernie Madoff.

 National Prearranged Services

National Prearranged Services

Not that this is any great surprise if you work in the Funeral Profession, but this week the United States Attorney’s Office announced the indictments of six controlling officials of National Prearranged Services, Inc., in a 50-count indictment charging wire, bank, mail, and insurance fraud; money laundering; and multiple conspiracy charges involving the sale of pre-paid funeral services.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics, FBI, Funeral News, New Website, Scams and tagged , , , , , , , ,