ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A 60-year-old man was convicted Thursday on 18 counts including bank fraud, wire fraud, wire fraud affecting a financial institution and conspiracy to commit those crimes for his role in one of the largest frauds every prosecuted in the Eastern District of Missouri.
David R. Wulf was appointed in the 80s to serve as the independent investment advisor to National Prearranged Services, Inc., a position where he was responsible for protecting, investing and the trusts' assets, which included more than $150 million paid by customers who were their money would be kept safe until their time of need.
Prosecutors, however, say Wulf authorized the use of trust funds to pay unrelated debts of companies affiliated with NPS, to enrich his co-defendants and to ultimately perpetuate a Ponzi scheme that spanned more than 12 states and affected thousands of customers.
From as early as 1992 to 2008, NPS sold rearranged funeral contracts in several states - including Missouri. During that time, insurance companies affiliated with NPS issued life insurance policies related to those contracts. Customers entering into funeral contracts would pay a single sum of money up-front to NPS either directly or through a funeral home that was also party to the contract.
According to court documents, NPS used these funds for other purposes - effectively operating as a Ponzi scheme that affected individual customers, funeral homes and insurance guarantee associations across the country, according to a news release.
Each count of bank fraud, conspiracy and wire fraud affecting a financial institution carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The wire fraud counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years.
Wulf's sentencing has been set for Nov. 7.