Owner of closed Flint funeral home sentenced in escrow case

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The owner of a shuttered Flint funeral home has been sentenced in an escrow case, the Michigan Attorney General's Office announced Thursday.

O'Neil Swanson II, 58, had pleaded no contest in July to two felony counts of failing to escrow prepaid funeral contract funds.

The West Bloomfield Township resident operated Swanson Funeral Home, which was fined several times and faced multiple complaints before the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs suspended its license. Inspectors had found decomposing corpses and unsanitary conditions at the Flint facility, which was closed in 2017. 

Swanson Funeral Home in Flint.

During its investigation of Swanson, who also lost his license, LARA learned he had been advertising and selling prepaid funeral contracts without a proper license, investigators said. The department turned over the case to the Attorney General's Office.

Search warrants executed on the business and Swanson’s residence found that he "deposited some of the prepaid funeral funds into his business account that was used for business and personal spending, instead of depositing that money into an escrow account as required by law," state officials said Thursday. "The investigation also found about 70 prepaid contracts, totaling more than $75,000, were either unfunded, underfunded or not properly escrowed."

On Monday, Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Kelly sentenced Swanson to an 11-month delayed sentence.

His sentence requires him to pay more than $75,000 in restitution in that time and $110 in probation supervision fees. If Swanson pays the full amount before the end of his delayed sentence, one felony will be dismissed and he would be sentenced on the remaining felony, the Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

Swanson paid $50,000 toward restitution following his sentencing, according to the release.

“Exploiting Michigan families while they are experiencing great suffering and personal loss is unconscionable,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Judge Kelly’s sentence ensures the money stolen from Mr. Swanson’s customers will be returned as quickly as possible and he will be held accountable for his actions.”