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Burial scam hits grieving families

The scandal at involving the selling of burial vaults two and three times to different buyers at Brisbane's Nudgee Cemetery will cost Brisbane's Catholic archdiocese up to $300,000 to rectify.

At least two families discovered paid-for burial sites were not theirs as they grieved over loved ones.

As many as 62 families have been hit by the fraud, which is understood to have been linked to the gambling problem of the spouse of a cemetery employee sacked earlier this year.

The scam ran from 1999 until it was discovered in February when two families found they each owned the same burial vault. It is now the subject of separate police and bank investigations.

Archbishop John Bathersby last week wrote letters of apology to all those who learned they would be unable to bury their relatives in the places they had selected.

"I'm enormously embarrassed by the whole thing and I think it is particularly offensive that families that are planning for an extremely sensitive time should be burdened by this type of deception," he said.

The archdiocese has offered replacement vaults and chapels to all those whose sites were sold improperly.

The archbishop stressed no one who has paid or partly paid for a vault or chapel would lose their money.


18 Jul 2002