Yesterday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported on the federal indictments handed down against six NPS officials. The article includes two statements that hint at the legal strategies to be employed by NPS and federal prosecutors.

"We have anticipated this (indictment) for a number of years, and he is looking forward to finally confronting these allegations line by line in court," Rosenblum said.

In 1992, Missouri filed a civil suit against National Prearranged that led to a court agreement on minimum deposits into trust accounts. That deal wasn’t followed, and the defendants concealed their transactions from regulators in Missouri and other states, the federal indictment alleges.

The first statement, made by Doug Cassity’s attorney, is a posturing statement that warns of a long public trial. The message is twofold: we’re going to make you spend a lot of money and we’re going to flyspeck the actions of Missouri regulators. Mr. Cassity’s legal team will likely assert that NPS complied with Missouri law, and did nothing to conceal its actions. Earlier this summer, NPS attorneys commented that the company was doing fine until regulators intervened in 2008. (If that were the case, why would Mr. Cassity have been anticipating the indictment for a number of years?)

Basing a defense on any failure of the State Board serves as a subterfuge. However, the federal prosecutor must respond by showing how NPS concealed its actions. With some Missouri funeral homes criticizing the former Attorney General for having let NPS off the 1992 hook, a NPS trial serves as a stark reminder to Governor Nixon of the lax enforcement of Chapter 436.

Missouri funeral directors should anticipate a get tough response from the Attorney General’s Office like that taken recently in Bates County.