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Judge considers new investment options for pre-paid funeral fund

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  A statewide fund for pre-paid funerals that lost millions in risky investments may soon get a judge's approval to invest in something more conservative. The court-appointed receiver for the Wisconsin Funeral Trust has asked a Dane County judge for permission to invest most of the fund's assets so it can break even. A hearing on the matter is set for tomorrow.

Just over a month ago, the trust fund had $41-and-a-half million. All but $4-million of it was in cash, so it could cover pre-paid funerals ordered by families throughout Wisconsin at their local funeral homes. The fund has a shortfall of $25-million, because it made good on people's funeral investments.

Receiver John Wirth says the fund needs to make $1.7-million a year to break even -- and the only way it will is to allow the money to be put in limited conservative investments. Federal securities' officials are investigating the riskier investments which led to the massive loss. Wirth said the fund's new administrators are not the same ones which previously made the bad investments.

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