A Colorado couple operating an “eco-friendly” funeral home allegedly bilked hundreds of families by pocketing funds meant for cremation and burials, according to court documents. Instead of honoring their promises, they spent the money on lavish purchases like luxury cars, cryptocurrency, and designer jewelry, while leaving nearly 200 bodies to decompose in unsanitary conditions, according to The New York Post.
Jon and Carie Hallford ran Return to Nature, advertising “traditional burials” and biodegradable options for up to $1,895. However, investigators found the couple used the funds for personal gain, purchasing a $92,566 GMC Yukon XL, a $28,336 Infiniti SUV, and indulging in cryptocurrency, expensive vacations, and high-end shopping sprees, the news portal further reported.
Meanwhile, the remains of 189 individuals entrusted to their care sat unattended in “bug-infested rooms filled with liquid decomposition,” court documents allege. This blatant disregard for their clients’ wishes and the remains of their loved ones has sparked outrage and raised questions about potential legal repercussions.
According to ABC 7, the latest disturbing revelations came to light as a judge ruled that the case against Jon Hallford could proceed to trial. The court made a similar ruling for Carie last month, the outlet noted. Both are set to be arraigned on a slew of charges, including abuse of a corpse, forgery, and money laundering related to their purchases, on March 21.
“To prey on people in the weakest, most vulnerable time of their lives is absolutely despicable,” said Danica Romero, whose sister, Samantha, was supposed to be cremated by Return to Nature after she died unexpectedly in December 2019.
“I don’t know what type of person even does that. Someone who doesn’t have a soul… My sister didn’t deserve this. None of the families involved deserve this,” she lamented.