Cape Breton police investigating Sydney funeral home for fraud
Cape Breton Regional Police are looking into an allegation of fraud against Chant’s Funeral Home in Sydney.
Service Nova Scotia says it has received dozens of complaints from families who have prepaid funerals with Chant’s, saying the money deposited for the prepaid funerals wasn't held in trust.
“I just think for anyone that may have had interactions with Chant’s Funeral Home or paid for a pre-arranged funeral, we would urge them to reach out to us directly, because we want to protect as much of this money as possible,” said Rodger Gregg, the provincial registrar of cemetery and funeral services.
Monday, owner Sheldon Chant gave CTV News exclusive access to his burned-out business.
Tuesday, he was reacting to the police investigation into his business.
In an email, Chant said: “At this time, we are going to let the authorities do their job. We are working with Service Nova Scotia and, if need be, we will resolve any issues that arise as we have done in the past. Our phone lines are still open 24/7 for any inquiry our clients may have.”
In January 2018, a complaint was made to the province claiming money paid for pre-arranged services had not been placed in trust.
After a hearing, Service Nova Scotia suspended Chant’s licence for pre-arranged funerals for six months and the company refunded the family.
In 2018, Service Nova Scotia identified 49 pre-arranged trust funded contracts, valued at $168,000, where money was not placed in trust. The department worked with those purchasers and all 49 were reimbursed by the funeral home.
Since February, Service Nova Scotia says it has received 61 calls and identified 39 additional trust funded pre-arranged contracts.
Cape Breton Regional Police confirmed Tuesday they received a complaint of alleged fraud at the funeral home from Service Nova Scotia in September 2018. They say their investigation is continuing.
“We will provide any assistance and kind of help them at any point or time,” Chant said. “We are going to need that time anyhow, in order to close out the company and make sure bills are paid and people get the right answers.”
Chant surrendered his licence after a fire destroyed his business on Feb. 2. The cause remains unknown at this point, but police are investigating it as a case of arson.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.