Women pleads not guilty in funeral scam

April 13, 2009 10:47:24 AM PDT
Two women accused of staging sham funerals to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in life insurance payments have pleaded not guilty in federal court in Los Angeles.

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Sixty-year-old Faye Shilling and 67-year-old Jean Crump entered pleas Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Abrams.

The pair, arrested last week on mail and wire fraud charges, remain free on $10,000 bond.

Prosecutors say the pair schemed to defraud insurance companies and funeral-related businesses out of more than $750,000 by purchasing policies on fictitious people, then staging their funerals.

The women allegedly weighted caskets with various materials to make it appear they contained corpses.

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