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Former Funeral Director Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison
DAYTON -- Former funeral director Scherrie McLin, 53, was sentenced Thursday afternoon to four years in prison and ordered to pay $233,483.99 in restitution to 74 victims.
McLin was convicted Aug. 7 of theft from an elderly or disabled person, two counts of grand theft, two counts of tampering with evidence and seven counts of violating pre-needs contracts.
Her jail sentence is credited with 16 days she has already spent in jail.
According to Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr., McLin owned and operated McLin Funeral Home at 2801 N. Gettysburg Avenue.
Heck said "Pre-needs" funeral contracts are where a person pays in advance for their funeral arrangements when they die. The funeral home is to deposit and retain those funds in either a trust or a life insurance policy as required by law.
"For nearly two decades, this defendant systematically accepted money from the victims for prepaid funeral expenses and, instead of securing that money as required by law in order that it would be available when the person died; she used the money for her own personal use," Heck said at the time of McLin's conviction.
When given the opportunity to speak, Scherrrie McLin turned around to look at the several victims who showed up to court for her sentencing.
"I would like to give my sincere apologies to all of those who have been affected by the situation. My intention was not to defraud you I just wanted to keep my business open. I never dreamed that I would not be there to provide the services you requested," said McLin.
One of those victims spoke in front of the court to show McLin just how much her family suffered after having to pay for another burial for her step father after McLin used up their original payment.
"We have to come up with other financial means to pay for the burial expenses that my mom had paid for so I just wished that she had a check with her right now to give my mom," said the victim.
McLin says when she took over the business from her dad and sister, there was already a great amount of debt.
"It's a circumstance that you inherited and you continued but you're responsible for your behavior," said Judge Huffman.
"I was not the only funeral director there. But I am here to accept my consequences and I want you to know that once my sentence is served I plan to get out gain employment and make restitution to each and everyone of you," said McLin.
She was sentenced to serve four years in prison for her convictions on 12 felony counts:
- One count Theft from an Elderly or Disabled Person > $150,000
- One count Grand Theft > $7,500
- Two counts Tampering With Government Records
- Seven counts Violation of Preneeds Contracts
- One count Theft > $1,000
"She was a licensed funeral home director, she knew what she was supposed to do, she committed these crimes which she could've stopped at any point," said Supervising attorney of consumer fraud division of Montgomery County prosecutors office Ward Barrentine. "The impression you want to leave, the songs you want, the people, these people had planned it out and that's how they want to be remembered but unfortunately now a lot of these people's aren't able to do those things."
"It was the nature of the business," said defense attorney Clide Bennett. "I think this conduct is inherent in most funeral homes. I don' t think McLin funeral home is the only funeral home doing this."
Prosecutors say they took all evidence of the funeral home and it's previous directors to the Grand Jury but it only indicted McLin.
McLin was also convicted of filing fraudulent annual reports in 2009 and 2010 in an attempt to conceal evidence of her theft.
McLin was also convicted of withholding approximately $6,500 from an employee for court ordered child support, and never forwarded that money to the child support bureau as ordered. Instead, the defendant converted that money for her own use.
Once McLin is released from the penitentiary, she will be on probation, under supervision of the court for up to five years. If she violates any of the terms of her probation, she faces up to an additional 19 years incarceration.
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