SUBJECT: Woman Arrested for Defrauding Grieving Family
RELEASE NUMBER: 2019-NR-044
CONTACT: Lt. Doug Daza / Major Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding
The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office has arrested an Evansville woman for defrauding a grieving family of over $18,000.00 meant to cover burial and memorial expenses for a deceased child. Caroline Marie Rich was arrested and charged with three counts of Fraud and three counts of Theft, all Level 6 felonies, following an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.
On September 7, 2019, deputies were called to Alexander Memorial Park for a Fraud report. Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office began an investigation that revealed that Rich, a Family Service Counselor for Dignity Memorial/SCI Shared Resources which owns Alexander Memorial Park, had worked with the family of Oliver Dill, a child who passed away in July, on contracts involving the purchase of burial plots and headstones. The parents and grandparents of the child had paid a total of $19,273.00 for the plots and headstones. These payments had been made via PayPal money transfers to a PayPal account of Rich’s and personal checks made out to Rich with the belief that she would transfer the funds to Dignity Memorial. These monies were from both the victims’ personal accounts as well as a GoFundMe account set up for the Dill family to cover funeral expenses. A member of the Dill family had a personal friendship with Rich and assumed there was nothing suspicious about the payment arrangements.
The Dill family began receiving invoices indicating a substantial outstanding balance owed on the account and contacted the cemetery. It was their belief that everything had been paid in full and questioned the invoices. Dignity Memorial immediately began an internal investigation and discovered that their employee, Rich, had apparently kept all but $1,000.00 of the money paid by the Dills. That amount she had paid towards the balance using her personal bank account. Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office verified the money transfers had been made to Rich personally and that a total of $18,273.01 had apparently been stolen.
On today’s date, Rich came to the Operations Center with her attorney for an interview. Rich initially stated that she took the funds with the intention of helping the family but when detectives began questioning her story, she declined to speak further. Rich was arrested and taken to the Vanderburgh County Jail where she will be held without bond pending a court appearance.
Dignity Memorial has cooperated fully with the investigation and will refund an overage on the account charged by Rich as well as absorb the loss on the remaining balance.
Caroline Marie Rich (pictured above), 37, of Evansville. Fraud (3 counts) as a Level 6 Felony, Theft (3 counts) as a Level 6 Felony.
Presumption of Innocence Notice: The fact that a person has been arrested or charged with a crime is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.