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A Sylva, North Carolina couple may find themselves buried six feet under—in criminal charges and a substantial debt to society—after authorities unraveled a scheme that allegedly spanned nearly a decade.

Following an examination of preneed burial policies, authorities arrested Ronnie Austin Riddle, the former owner and operator of Melton Riddle Funeral Home, along with his wife, Thomasine Sheehan Riddle. The 56-year-old faces 13 counts of obtaining property by false pretense, while his wife, 55, has been charged with nine counts of the same offense.

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