- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The owners of a Putnam County-based funeral home have been ordered to pay nearly $3 million after being accused of defrauding an Iowa-based insurance company by cashing in on pre-need funeral arrangements for more than 100 people who weren’t actually dead.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail (https://bit.ly/2bfevvS ) reports that Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers ruled Monday that Chad and Billie Harding must pay about $2.8 million - three times the amount they took from Homesteaders Life Insurance Co.

Chambers granted the insurance company default judgment in June, after the funeral home’s owners and their attorney, Jeff Woods, didn’t respond to court orders. Woods says his clients are involved in other lawsuits.

Prearranged plans free families from financial and other burdens that arise upon the passing of a loved one.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, https://wvgazettemail.com.

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