New Jersey cemetery probed over cash-for-graves scheme

The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the financial practices of a Catholic cemetery in New Jersey that allegedly sold graves at a discount for cash.

The Diocese of Paterson forbids the practice of taking cash, and the pastor of St. Mary's Assumption Church in Passaic raised concerns about the financial management of St. Mary's Cemetery in Saddle Brook.

Diocese lawyer Kenneth Mullaney tells The Record newspaper the pastor thought there was a drop-off in cemetery income. An accountant's report was turned over to the prosecutor after the previous cemetery director left.

The newspaper reports an "absence of records" led the cemetery to bury a man in the wrong grave last month, which led to the pastor uncovering the apparently illegal practice that was taking place.

Mullaney would not say how much cash was accepted for discounted gravesites.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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