Profits of Death
Press: reviews & publicity
Profits of Death Reviews of the Book

Karen J. Leonard
Research Assistant for
The American Way of Death
Jessica Mitford, author

Congratulations! You've got a winner here! ...Mr. Roberts, well done indeed. Jessica Mitford would have loved to have met you.

I have read all the other "insider exposes" (it's my job), and nothing comes close to this forthright, plain and simple disclosure. No funeral director/cemeterian I've interviewed (and alas, I've had to talk to too many) who promised to "tell me the real dirt" ever really dug deeper than a spade full, compared to Darryl. Darryl has dug the grave, and exposed the bones.

Oh how I wish I could see the faces of..., and other industry talking heads when they read this! Read 'em and weep, boys! The truth is, no matter how much consumer advocates like myself and Henry (Wasielewski) know, no matter how much we tell, we are on the sidelines. Until someone from the fold sheds the sheep's clothing and stands up and howls, the impact will never reach the herd, and the continual fleecing will continue without much interruption.  No "disgruntled employee" excuses. Darryl's book is not a grudge payback. He is the genuine article, a leader of the pack.

Every funeral director in the country is going to read this. Every funeral/memorial society should advertise it.

"Mr. Roberts' book represents a comprehensive and courageous effort to pull the curtains from the dark side of the funeral industry, letting the light shine clearly on consumers' options. His lucid, flowing, and often humorous style takes the mystery out of the whole funeral process...I hope the ethical members of the industry will appreciate this clearing of the air and view it as an opportunity for growth and improved service. They should feel secure in the knowledge that they will never lack customers."

Ruth C. Zemek, Director of Trade Practice
The Better Business Bureau

"...the book is worth reading from cover to cover for a more complete picture of what happens at the hands of funeral professionals at the time of death. I have had first-hand experience with the vulnerability at the time of death of friends and family of the deceased and their willingness to heed advice of those professionals at this time. After reading this book, I personally changed my mind about the "final arrangements" I would request for myself. I would say that this fact makes for quite an endorsement.

Nancy Perlick
Roman Catholic Religious Sister of Mercy
Burlingame CA Regional Community of
The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
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Profits of Death on National Television

Darryl J. Roberts, the whistle-blowing author of Profits of Death, was featured on the CBS television program 60 Minutes on Sunday, February 1. CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl interviewed Roberts about the rapid consolidation of the funeral industry by a few major conglomerates. The show echoed Roberts' concern that just three conglomerates now handle nearly one-fourth of all U.S. funerals. In the process, they are drastically raising the costs (in one instance cited in the show, by more than 50% in just the past three years).

In Profits of Death, Roberts - a 30-year veteran of the death care industry - exposes many of the tactics used by funeral homes and cemeteries to mislead consumers into spending more than they need to when making final arrangements. The book also contains several tips on minimizing the cost of funerals and burials.

His book was also reviewed in Phoenix Magazine (February 1998) and has been quoted in dozens of other major publications including Kiplinger's Magazine (May and July 1997) and Money Magazine (September 1997).

Arizona Author and Publisher Sued Over 60 Minutes Broadcast

The lawsuit involving Darryl J. Roberts, a resident of Scottsdale and the author of the consumer-oriented book PROFITS OF DEATH: An Insider Exposes the Death Care Industries, and the book's publisher, Five Star Publications, Incorporated, based in Chandler, is expected to be amended by the plaintiffs to include comments made recently by Roberts on the CBS television show 60 Minutes.

Service Corporation International (SCI), one of the largest funeral home/cemetery conglomerates in the world, and the firm's chief executive officer, Robert L. Waltrip, have filed a motion to amend their original lawsuit to include allegedly libelous statements made by Roberts on the show's segment titled "The High Costs of Dying" which was broadcast February 1. Among the statements challenged are the comment that "conglomerates come into town (and) raise prices fairly quickly," and an alleged implication that SCI businesses charge $800 for opening and closing a grave when their costs are only $50. SCI and Waltrip accuse Roberts and Five Star Publications of falsely claiming that SCI engages in deceptive trade practices, price gouging, and other unfair practices.

Charles L. Babcock and John K. Edwards, with the law firm of Jackson Walker, L.L.P., of Houston, represent Roberts and Five Star Publications, Incorporated. Edwards indicated that the motion to amend the original lawsuit will probably be granted. "Federal courts routinely grant leave to amend early in litigation," Edwards said. "If the court grants the motion, we will seek additional discovery to explore the grounds for the new allegations." He noted that his clients are still waiting for the court to rule on their motion for summary judgment which was filed in January regarding the original lawsuit. "We are optimistic of a favorable outcome," Edwards said. "In our opinion, the original defamation claim borders on the frivolous. This latest development does little to change that opinion."

Regarding this newest development, Edwards added, "Interestingly, out of all the statements that were made by various people during the 60 Minutes segment, the plaintiffs choose to focus on two or three comments made by one individual, who just happens to be the same person they are already suing over a single quotation. If the plaintiffs think that Roberts and his publisher are little folks who can't fight back, they are wrong. We intend to vigorously defend the important First Amendment rights at stake in this lawsuit."

In the original lawsuit, SCI and Waltrip alleged that the author and publisher defamed them claiming they falsely accused Waltrip of stating that it was his goal to turn SCI into "the True Value Hardware of the funeral-service industry." Roberts replied, "This quote was taken directly from an article that appeared in Business Week in its August 25, 1986 issue." The article, which appeared in the magazine's "The Corporation" section, was entitled Bob Waltrip is Making Big Noises in a Quiet Industry - His Service Corp. Expects to Acquire 50 Mortuaries and Cemeteries Just this Year.
In Profits of Death, Roberts - a 30-year veteran of the death care industries - exposes many of the tactics used by funeral homes and cemeteries to mislead consumers into spending more than they need to when making final arrangements. The book also contains several ways in which to control the cost of funerals and burials.

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As featured on CBS 60 Minutes an insider exposes the funeral industry

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