Pre-Paid Funeral Service Was 'Ponzi-Like Scheme,' Federal Prosecutors Say

Province's sentencing agreement is scheduled for Nov. 7. Dragan said the plea agreement allows Province to ask for probation.

"I think it's a fair resolution in light of Ms. Province's age, her poor health and her involvement in the company," Dragan said. "She's 69 years old, in remission from cancer with severe arthritis and had knees replaced recently."

Federal regulators take a dim view of prepaid funeral plans.

"You may wish to make decisions about your arrangements in advance, but not pay for them in advance," the Federal Trade Commmission said. "Keep in mind that over time, prices may go up and businesses may close or change ownership. However, in some areas with increased competition, prices may go down over time. It's a good idea to review and revise your decisions every few years, and to make sure your family is aware of your wishes."

The FTC advises that consumers interested in pre-paying for funeral services ask appropriate questions before signing a contract. These include, what will happen to the money that is pre-paid, its interest income and whether it will be put into a trust account. The agency advises that you make sure you are protected if the firm you are dealing with goes out of business or move away.

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