Forest Hill investigator fighting to find more money for policy holders

New leadership at Forest Hill Funeral Home in Memphis means pre-paid policy holders will get what they paid for.

The new managers of Forest Hill have a big mess to clean up!

They say they will honor policy holders and pay back people who lost money to former owner and indicted businessman Clayton Smart.

But tonight, some question where that money will come from.

Shirley Matlock never thought she could get her money back. "I think it's sad," she said.

Matlock had funeral and burial services at Forest Hill for both her parents. And for each funeral and burial, Forest Hill told her she owed more money.

Matlock was too upset, so she just paid without proof.

"The funeral home wanted to know if they had the go-ahead, if we had the money, so I left it alone," she told us.

And she's not alone.

Many of Forest Hill's 13,000 policy holders had similar stories after former funeral home owner Clayton Smart claimed inflation made it impossible to honor pre-paid policies.

"My job is to chase down funds that have been taken and try to get them back," said Forest Hill Court Appointee Max Shelton.

The courts appointed Shelton to take over Forest Hill after the feds charged Clayton Smart with conspiracy, theft, money laundering and embezzlement.

Authorities were able to recover $9 million from a number of Smart's accounts.

Shelton is now filing lawsuits to recover another $20 million.

"It's gonna take a little more wherewithal to pay them back, but we hope to do that and pay off all the creditors," said Shelton.

And Matlock hopes Smart pays. "I pray that something is done, that he doesn't get away with it."

Forest Hill plans to honor all future policies as they were written.

Matlock is planning to make contact with Forest Hill to recover her money.

Clayton Smart is in an Oklahoma jail fighting extradition to Tennessee and Michigan.

If you have questions about your pre-paid policy, you can call Forest Hill Funeral Home at 901-382-1000.


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