MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ/AP) – A Roseville funeral director and his wife, accused of spending prepaid funeral dollars on a lavish lifestyle, have been given a deferred sentence.
A judge is postponing a sentence until 2012 for the Macomb County couple charged with spending more than $300,000 given for prepaid funerals.
Judge John Foster said he’s delaying the punishment until March so authorities and Mark and Lisa Buehler can try to come up with money or other help for approximately 150 victims.
The Buehlers ran a funeral home in Roseville. They pleaded guilty in May to 37 charges of funeral contracts conversion. Authorities say $352,000 that was supposed to be held in escrow instead was spent by the couple.
Lisa Buehler’s attorney has said he believes the money went into the business, but there are allegations of lavish personal spending. Police seized Lexus and Jaguar cars.
The couple didn’t speak in the courtroom Thursday.
There were few victims present because most were physically unable to attend.
Anna Furchak said she’s out $5,200. The 79-year-old called the Buehlers ”crooks.”
“They signed the paper and they promised me everything would be alright. I even gave my teeth money, and I can’t have my teeth fixed now because I gave it all to them. [I paid for] somebody to bury me, I don’t want the city to throw me in the furnace,” Furchak said.
Some victims have expressed doubt that the Buehlers will be able to legitimately earn the money to pay anyone back.
When they are sentenced, the Buehler face the possibility of up to five years behind bars.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.