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Plea deal offered in funeral fraud case

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.

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