This was not the ending that most expected. After decades of playing shell games with regulators and funeral homes, Doug Cassity accepted a plea bargain rather than go to trial. Brent Cassity also accepted a plea bargain, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that attorneys for one of the remaining defendants were scurrying to the prosecutors before the deal was set to expire on July 3rd. Having run out of shells, Doug Cassity will now try to parlay his cupboard into a reduction of the maximum prison time of 115 months he faces. By now, federal prosecutors have determined that what assets remain in the Cassity cupboard belong to consumers and funeral homes, not any individual with the Cassity name. The industry will wait to see if federal prosecutors can turn the favor on Doug Cassity and play a different type of shell game.
For his full cooperation towards restitution, prosecutors could offer Father and Son Cassity a nicer and safer Federal penitentiary than the one in Florence, Colorado. To leverage their cooperation, prosecutors should also provide the Cassity duo the rules to surviving in a federal prison.
Offering either Cassity time off as exchange for restitution assets would be an insult to both funeral homes and consumers. The maximum time Doug Cassity faces is 9 years and 7 months. The prosecutors reference the NPS fraud at $600 million, but the actual loss to funeral homes is much higher, and will only increase as each year passes. Funeral homes and consumers will be dealing with the Cassity fraud much longer than 9 years and 7 months. And it is crucial that the public understand that a large percentage of these losses are voluntary on the part of funeral homes. As we have explained in prior blog posts, NPS was the primary obligor under many of the contracts, and many funeral homes are eating the losses voluntarily (regardless of what some regulators have said).
While funeral homes would welcome whatever prosecutors can recover from Doug Cassity, it will only be a drop in the bucket of losses incurred. No one will trade those drops for a day off for Mr. Cassity.