Before former funeral home owner Scherrie McLin was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing approximately $200,000 in prepaid funeral contract money, she vowed to pay back her victims.
“I would like to give my sincere apologies to all those who have been affected by this situation,” said McLin as she faced some of the elderly victims who filled the Montgomery County courtroom. “My intention was never to defraud you. I just wanted to keep our business open and running. I never dreamed that I would not be there to provide the services you requested.” McLin added that once she has served her sentence she plans to try to pay back her victims.
Judge Mary Katherine Huffman sentenced McLin to four years in the Ohio Reformatory for Women. She was convicted of the felony charges of one count of theft, one count of theft from an elderly or disabled person, one count of grand theft, two counts of tampering with government records, and seven counts of violation of pre-needs contracts.
McLin, who Huffman said had 74 victims, will have five years of probation when she is released from prison.
During the sentencing, Huffman said, “You referenced it today, that this pattern of behavior didn’t start with you. It started with, frankly, your Dad and your sister, who ran the funeral home before you and who had engaged in this, from your perspective, for many years and left you in a position where the funds weren’t there to pay for funerals that you were obligated to complete.”
Huffman continued, “Understanding that this didn’t start with you, my point is that it could have ended with you. You did not have to continue this legacy.”
McLin’s attorney Clyde Bennett said Huffman was talking about McLin’s father, the late State Rep. C.J. McLin Jr., and Scherrie McLin’s half-sister Rhine McLin, former mayor of Dayton.
Rhine McLin did not attend Thursday’s hearing. When contacted by the Dayton Daily News about Huffman’s comments, Rhine McLin said she had compassion for the families that were affected by her sister’s actions.
“When we severed our business relationship, she took total control of the business,” Rhine McLin said.
Rhine McLin also said that she let her funeral director’s license lapse and gave up ownership of the McLin Funeral Home, 2801 N. Gettysburg Ave., before 2006.
She added that she never stole any money from the funeral home’s clients when she was associated with the family business.
Ward Barrentine, assistant prosecutor, said that although he was pleased with the sentencing, he would have liked to have seen the victims get the money back immediately.
“Restitution should be made before (she goes to prison),” said Beverly Combs. Her late aunt Emma Williams was one of McLin’s victims. “Because if she can’t do it now, how will she do it then?”
More online: We’ve been following this story for you from the beginning. Read past articles at MyDaytonDailyNews.com.