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Colorado Funeral Home Owners Face Charges For Allegedly Defrauding Funeral Home Clients

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Mariane Angela Entertainment And News Reporter
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A Colorado couple appeared in court Monday as they face charges for allegedly defrauding their funeral home clients, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado said in a press release.

Jon Hallford, 44, and Carie Hallford, 47, face multiple federal charges for allegedly defrauding their funeral home clients and misusing COVID-19 relief funds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado. The Hallfords, who ran Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, Colorado, have been indicted on 13 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The couple made their initial court appearance on April 15, 2024, before Judge Scott T. Varholak.

This case came to light in October 2023 when residents reported a foul odor from the funeral home facility. An FBI investigation subsequently uncovered 190 deceased bodies in various states of decomposition within the premises, with some records indicating unhandled deaths dating back to 2019, the press release stated. (RELATED: Mississippi Funeral Home Put Wrong Body In Casket, Family Says)

The indictment claims the Hallfords deceived their clients by failing to provide the promised cremations or burials. Furthermore, the pair is accused of fraudulently obtaining $882,300 in COVID-19 relief funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration. They allegedly provided false information about Jon’s child support arrears and falsely certified that their business was free of criminal activities at the time of their application. The funds, instead of supporting business operations, were reportedly used for personal expenses.

The CARES Act, established in March 2020, included provisions for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help Americans navigate the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. The U.S. Small Business Administration administers these loans to assist with payroll costs and other business expenses, the press release added.

In response to widespread pandemic-related fraud, the Attorney General formed a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force in May 2021, aiming to bolster federal efforts to prosecute fraudulent activities and prevent misuse of relief programs. This ongoing investigation involves multiple state and local agencies, including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Fremont County Coroner’s Office, under the oversight of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tim Neff and Craig Fansler. Further updates will follow as the case progresses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.