ST. LOUIS (AP) — Seven defendants accused in a pre-arranged funeral scam have been offered plea deals that would allow them to avoid potential life sentences.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlined the plea offers on Friday. The deal would require five to 10 years in prison in exchange for guilty pleas. The case is being handled in federal court in St. Louis.
U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan cited the high cost of trials that could last three months.
Prosecutors say now-defunct National Prearranged Services Inc. operated like a Ponzi scheme before it was shut down in 2008. Customers were allegedly bilked of up to $600 million.
One former employee, 69-year-old Sharon Nekol Province, pleaded guilty earlier this month. Sentencing is November 7th.
WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. (AP) — A Washington Park, Illinois police officer has been accused of smuggling narcotics to a female jail inmate.
Authorities say the officer is 61-year-old Douglas Young of Lebanon. Young was arrested Thursday morning in his police uniform at the Washington Park Police Department. He has been charged with official misconduct for bringing narcotics and prescription drugs to an inmate of the St. Clair County Jail.
St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson says Young allegedly "used his position as a law enforcement officer" to arrange jail visits to a woman in custody on theft charges.
Young is being held at the St. Clair County Jail. His bond has been set at $25,000. It was not immediately clear if he has an attorney.
Washington Park is just east of St. Louis.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — An audit by the Federal Office of Inspector General says Missouri should pay back more than $21 million in federal Medicaid payments made to a state-operated children's hospital in St. Louis County.
The audit found that Hawthorn Children's Psychiatric Hospital failed for five years to fulfill regulatory requirements to qualify for the federal Medicaid reimbursements.
Missouri Department of Social Services spokeswoman Rebecca Woelfel says the department disagrees with the audit and will continue to defend its position. The state also filed a letter disagreeing with the finding.
The Office of Inspector General cannot require the state to pay back the money. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will decide whether to seek repayment of some or all of the money, and Missouri can appeal that decision.