Women Accused of Phony Funerals for Fake People

Fake funerals for fictitious people are at the center of complaints facing two Los Angeles-area women, who will be arraigned Monday on federal fraud charges for allegedly defrauding insurance companies.

Faye Shilling, 60, of Hawthorne, Calif., and Jean Crump, 67, of Los Angeles, were charged with five counts of mail and wire fraud Wednesday.

The necro-phonies allegedly planned to collect almost $1 million from insurance and lending companies by purchasing policies for non-existent people and then staging their funerals, according to a federal grand jury indictment.
When staging the funerals, Shilling, a phlebotomist, and Crump, an employee at a now-defunct Long Beach mortuary, allegedly filled caskets with various materials to make it appear they contained actual corpses, documents show.

After the funerals, the women and their associates filed bogus documents with the county saying the remains had been cremated and scattered at sea, prosecutors said.
The insurance policies were worth $50,000 to $450,000, and the women had already collected on some as large as $250,000, officials said.
The indictment further alleges that Crump offered a doctor $50,000 to create records supporting a fake death certificate.

Shilling and Crump also allegedly defrauded several lending companies that advance cash to cover funeral expenses in exchange for a portion of the decedent's life insurance policy, records show.
Following their arrest, the women appeared in U.S. District Court and were freed late Wednesday on $10,000 bonds. They were ordered to return for arraignment Monday.
If convicted of the five counts contained in the indictment, they could be sentenced to up to 100 years in federal prison.
Two other women previously pleaded guilty to their part in the creepy scheme.

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