September 19, 2019
LANSING – The owner of a shuttered Genesee County funeral home was sentenced Monday on two felony counts of Failing to Escrow Prepaid Funeral Contract Funds, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.
O’Neil Swanson II, 58, of West Bloomfield, was sentenced by Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth A. Kelly to an 11-month delayed sentence after pleading no contest to two felonies in July. His sentence requires him to pay more than $75,000 in restitution before the end of his delayed sentence and $110 in probation supervision fees. If Swanson pays the full restitution before the end of his delayed sentence, one felony will be dismissed and he will be sentenced on the remaining felony. Swanson paid $50,000 toward restitution following his sentencing.
Swanson was the owner and operator of Swanson Funeral Home in Flint. During an investigation by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) that led to the suspension of Swanson’s mortuary science license and the subsequent closing of his business, LARA also discovered Swanson was advertising and selling prepaid funeral contracts without a proper license.
LARA referred the case to the Michigan Department of Attorney General for additional action after receiving several calls from concerned prepaid funeral contract holders after Swanson’s license was suspended. The Department of Attorney General executed search warrants on the business and Swanson’s residence, which revealed that Swanson deposited some the prepaid funeral funds into his business account that was used for business and personal spending, instead of depositing that money into an escrow account as required by law. The investigation also found about 70 prepaid contracts, totaling more than $75,000, were either unfunded, underfunded or not properly escrowed.
“Exploiting Michigan families while they are experiencing great suffering and personal loss is unconscionable,” Nessel said. “Judge Kelly’s sentence ensures the money stolen from Mr. Swanson’s customers will be returned as quickly as possible and he will be held accountable for his actions.”
This case underscores Nessel’s commitment to protecting Michigan consumers. Since January, her office has returned nearly $400,000 to the hardworking Michiganders who have been exploited by unscrupulous businesses.
Michigan residents who believe they’ve been a victim of an unscrupulous business are encouraged to file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Attorney General.