BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – A former funeral director who defrauded an insurance company pleaded guilty today, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Joel L. McGuire, 61, of Alderson, entered his guilty plea to wire fraud.
McGuire was the funeral director at Broyles-McGuire Funeral Home in Union, West Virginia. While serving as funeral director, McGuire also sold insurance policies that would pay for clients’ funerals upon their death. On August 31, 2012, McGuire submitted a claim, stating that a client had passed away on August 29, 2012, and that he had provided funeral services at a cost of $3,313.71. McGuire knew that the client was still alive and that he had not provided any funeral services. The insurance company paid McGuire $3,312.71 for the claim. McGuire also admitted that, as a result of his submission of numerous other false claims for clients that had not died, he received more than $50,000.
McGuire faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on January 9, 2018.
The West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner Fraud Unit conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Eric Bacaj is in charge of the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber.