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Area man forced to pay back thousands of dollars to funeral home customers

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Dumas, TX -

An area man is forced to pay back thousands of dollars to customers he had stolen from.

After selling head stones and plots of land to people who never ended up getting what they purchased, Michael Lee Thomas was arrested and charged with two felonies, one for selling fake property and the other for theft.

Officials say Thomas was depositing checks from customers at Morrison Funeral Directors in Dumas, and putting them into his own account. Court documents show at least 21 people fell victim to Thomas. He was issued 15 years probation so he can pay back more than $18,000 to customers, and $9,000 to Morrison Funeral Directors.

Morrison Funeral Directors told us Thomas no longer works for the company.

To make sure something like this doesn't happen to you, Mark Blankenship, the executive director at Llano Cemetery in Amarillo suggests checking with the Texas Funeral Association to see if any complaints or issues have been filed with a specific company.

Blankenship also stressed the importance of having a good relationship with the company you are looking to do business with. "Align yourself with someone you can trust, someone you can get referrals from, and someone who can show you, or you can show them, your body of work of what you've done in the past and the people you have served," he said.

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