TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A man was sentenced on Monday to nearly six years in prison for engaging in a wire fraud scheme.
Shawn Lynn Parcells, 42, of Topeka, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in May 2022 and received 69 months in prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Court documents show that in July of 2016, Parcells, acting as the owner of National Autopsy Services, LLC, convinced a client that he was qualified to conduct an autopsy based on the false credentials. The client paid the defendant $5,000 and received an emailed copy of a final report from Parcells.
The report included an opinion made within “a certain degree of medical certainty as a Forensic, Neuro, and Infectious Disease Epidemiology Fellow,” and appeared authored by the defendant. No pathologist participated in this examination or report.
Court documents also show that between May 2016 and May 2019, Parcells used NAS to obtain fees from more than 350 clients for a total amount of $1,166,000. In most cases, Parcells failed to provide an authentic completed report.
“It’s troubling whenever criminals deceptively present themselves as professionals to commit fraud on unwitting victims, but the fact that Parcells’ schemes were predicated upon exploiting the grief and bereavement of others, makes his act a particularly predatory crime,” said U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard.
“During their most vulnerable state, Mr. Parcells willfully defrauded individuals while they were grieving the loss of a loved one,” said Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Charles Dayoub. “He used deception as a means to prey on those looking to find answers surrounding the death of their loved ones by claiming to be a pathologist and being able to provide those answers. Mr. Parcells fraudulently collected fees and profited on their grief for his own personal gain. Today’s sentencing sends a clear message – the FBI will hold those accountable who use deception and fraud to take advantage of others in our community.”
Parcells was convicted on Aug. 10, 2022. He was indicted on federal fraud charges for running an autopsy-for-hire business on Nov. 18, 2020.