Embattled Swanson Funeral Home owner pays $50,000 of restitution

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FLINT (WJRT) (9/19/2019) - The owner of the embattled Swanson Funeral Home in Flint made a major payment toward the thousands he owes for allegedly stealing money for prepaid funeral services.

O'Neil Swanson II was sentenced on Monday in Genesee County Circuit Court and made a $50,000 payment toward the $75,000 he owes in restitution.

Swanson, 58, pleaded no contest in July to two felony charges for failing to place money for prepaid funeral in an escrow account. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such at sentencing.

Swanson was sentenced to repay $75,000 in restitution to families whose prepaid funeral payments allegedly were stolen. He also received a delayed 11-month jail sentence.

If Swanson repays the entire $75,000 in restitution within 11 months, the Michigan Attorney General's Office will drop one felony charge and he will be resentenced on the other charge.

Swanson Funeral Home on Martin Luther King Avenue closed soon after and bodies inside were transferred to other funeral homes around Genesee County.

A later investigation by the Michigan Attorney General's Office uncovered evidence that Swanson deposited money for prepaid funerals into business accounts. He then used it to pay for operating the funeral home and personal expenses, according to investigators.

Investigators say Swanson improperly handled 70 prepaid funeral contracts totaling more than $75,000.

“Exploiting Michigan families while they are experiencing great suffering and personal loss is unconscionable,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “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.”