MELROSE (CBS) – The man who was in charge of a city-owned cemetery is accused of selling burial plots he did not own to grieving buyers who had no idea.

Prosecutors say 70-year-old John Hughes, the one-time administrator of Melrose’s Wyoming Cemetery, is charged in connection with an alleged scheme to sell unused cemetery burial plots, owned by the City of Melrose to unsuspecting buyers.

Beginning in 2011 prosecutors say Hughes told people looking to buy burial plots that they could purchase previously sold plots in the cemetery at discounted rates.

They say Hughes then set up fake sellers who would be paid by those looking for the burial plots.

Investigators say Hughes would then split the funds with the fake sellers, none of whom owned the plots that were sold. Authorities say Hughes sold 13 burial plots, diverting funds from the City of Melrose, and netting about $75,000.

Hughes appeared in Middlesex Superior Court and was released on personal recognizance.

Hughes retired from his position in September 2015. He is due back in court next month.


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