FLINT, MI – O’Neil Swanson II, 58-years-old, of West Bloomfield, pleaded no contest to two felonies late last week before Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth A. Kelly for his role in failing to escrow the money he collected from selling prepaid funeral contracts.
Swanson was the owner and operator of the now-shuttered Swanson Funeral Home in Flint. During the course of an investigation by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) that led to Swanson’s mortuary science license being suspended and the subsequent closing of his business, LARA discovered Swanson was advertising and selling prepaid funeral contracts without a proper license.
After receiving several calls from concerned prepaid funeral contract holders after Swanson’s license was suspended, LARA referred the case to the Michigan Department of Attorney General, which executed search warrants on the business and Swanson’s residence. The evidence revealed that Swanson deposited some the funds into his business account, which was used for business and personal spending, instead of depositing clients’ money into an escrow account. The investigation also found about 80 prepaid contracts, totaling more than $75,000, were either unfunded, underfunded or not properly escrowed.
On Friday, Swanson pleaded no contest to two felony counts of Failing to Escrow Prepaid Funeral Contract Funds. Under the agreement, Swanson will receive an 11-month delayed sentence and is required to pay a restitution of at least $75,000 before the end of his delayed sentence. If he pays the full restitution amount, one felony will be dismissed and he will be sentenced on the remaining felony count.
“Exploiting Michigan Families while they are experiencing great suffering and personal loss is unconscionable,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “This plea agreement is an effort to return the money stolen from Swanson’s customers as quickly as possible and make certain he is held accountable for his actions.”