MT. CLEMENS, Mich. (WXYZ) - Lisa and Mark Buehler listened as two of the 135 estimated victims spoke to the judge today about the heartache caused after they prepaid for their funerals and now all the money is gone.
"They're hurting me so bad by doing this to me," said Anna Furchak. "I have no money to care for me."
Furchak says she paid the Buehlers more than $5000 to make sure she would have a proper burial. Now most of her life savings is gone, and she has to start from scratch to ensure she will be taken care of.
"They promised me everything would be all right," Furchak said.
The Buehlers pled guilty earlier this year to more than 3 dozen counts after prosecutors accused them of stealing people's funeral money.
The judge said today he will sentence the couple in March, and how stiff any prison time may be will depend on how hard they work to start paying back more than $350,000 in restitution.
"They are extremely remorseful..they're seeking counseling," says Robert Buschmohle, an attorney for the couple. Buschmohle denies that the Buehlers funded a lavish lifestyle with all the money. He says most of the money was used to finance the company.
A local funeral home is offering assistance to help those victimized. Read the letter below from Kaul Funeral Homes.
Dear Friend and Fellow Caregiver,
As you know, Kaul Funeral Homes has a long history of helping families during their time of loss and as a firm with a reputation for championing the value and meaning of the funeral.
Therefore, when we heard through the local newspaper that families in our area allegedly had their preneed funds misappropriated, it was clear there would be families experiencing a loss (financial loss) needing help. In an effort to provide assistance to those families and defend the integrity of funeral service, we are stepping forward at this time with the following offer.
Kaul Funeral Homes will assist these families by providing FREE professional services (administrative and professional staff, transportation services, embalming, coordinating of funeral services, etc.) and FREE use (visitation, funeral and memorial services) of any of the funeral home's three facilities in Roseville, St. Clair Shores and Clinton Township.
Families will be asked to provide an original copy of their prearranged Statement of Goods and Services (contract) and a statement and/or receipt of the prepayment which was made.
We will consider each family's needs and will work with them to provide the same or comparable services according to their wishes. Merchandise items (caskets, outer burial containers, urns etc.) and Cash Advances (cemetery/crematory charges, church stipends, flowers, obituary notices etc.) are not included in this offer.
As a partner in caring for the deceased and/or providing assistance to their families, we encourage you to share this information with those who have been affected. If you wish to have more details or further explanation, please call us anytime.
Thank you for helping us bring some peace of mind to these families.
Timothy McGillen, Manager
Kaul Funeral Home
27830 Gratiot Avenue
Roseville, MI 48066