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      Feds: Missouri funeral home manager stole money from the dead

      The federal grand jury indicted a former Moberly funeral home office manager on charges that accuse her of stealing more than $176,000 from customers' funeral expenses.

      Beverly Susan Rene Smith, 40, is charged with one count of wire fraud. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and seizure of any property derived from the illegal activity in which she is accused.

      Smith was hired as office manager at Million-Taylor Funeral Home in 2001.

      The indictment alleges that she shifted money from various trusts and funeral home accounts. Federal authorities say she withdrew money from an escrow account that went undetected. She used the money for her personal use including the purchase of clothing and jewelry, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in St. Louis, Mo.

      "She hid the withdrawals by manipulating the financial records of MTFH," a release said.

      The grand jury handed up its indictment Thursday.

      Smith made her first appearance in court Monday at the federal courthouse in St. Louis.