IONIA - The former co-owner of an Ionia County funeral home pleaded no contest on Tuesday to 73 felony counts in a criminal case in which he's already served 16 months in prison, according to a news release.
Marti Schrauben, 43, ran an "embezzlement scheme" from 2008 to 2010 that included him stealing "upwards of $400,000" by forging death certificates for individuals who were still living and submitting fake insurance claims, according to a release from the Michigan Attorney General's Office. He also forged the names on checks to deposit in his personal bank account, according to the release.
At the end of a 2014 trial, a jury convicted Schrauben, who had been a co-owner of Ionia County's Lehman Funeral Home, on 26 felony charges, but the trial judge dismissed many of the charges after the verdicts. The Attorney General Bill Schuette's office later added 73 felony charges, which the judge dismissed.
Prosecutors appealed that decision, and the Michigan Court of Appeals reinstated the charges, leading to Schrauben's no contest pleas on Tuesday, the Attorney General's office said.
A sentencing hearing hasn't been scheduled.
"This man took advantage of those who were in the process of planning or pre-planning funerals," Attorney General Bill Schuette said in the release. "Instead of supporting them through a difficult time he used their stress and grief to steal for his own financial gain. I hope this plea today brings the victims and their families one step closer to closure."
An attorney of record for Schrauben wasn't immediately available for comment.
Contact Matt Mencarini at (517) 267-1347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MattMencarini.
Lansing State Journal