Couple accused of taking more than $60,000 in grave headstone scam in Monroe

MONROE, NC (WBTV) - A man and his wife were arrested in Monroe for allegedly taking more than $60,000 from people for grave headstones and never delivering the product.

According to the Monroe Police Department, Tunis and Georganne Selby were charged with felony conversion and obtaining property by false pretense. The couple was connected to something police are calling the "Monroe Monument incidents."

Police say the two would have victims pay up front for grave headstones or markers, place an order, but then never pay the rest of the cost.

"You just do not do that stuff. It is not morally correct. If you couldn't do the work, you should have never taken their money," said Michelle Barton, who manages Beat Monument and grave headstone business. "You do not want to take advantage of anybody and these people are in need."

A total of 34 victims were affected with a loss of roughly $64,000.

This has been an ongoing investigation for more than a month.

"We knew we were going to charge this individual. We just wanted to make sure we had enough evidence and as many victims as we could," said Pete Hovanec, the Communications Director for the City of Monroe.

Barton's business sits across the street from what used to be Monroe Monuments.

"They come in here and say, 'we purchased a stone from across the street, but it has been five-six months and we do not have anything,'" said Barton. "They spent a lot of money on it and all this time has gone by. They figured they were not going to get it and now they had to start saving up again."

WBTV spoke to the new tenant of the property. He has renamed the business Union Monument and is helping the victims complete orders or find a replacement that is suitable.

He has no connection with the Selbys and has received high praise from the victims for the way he has helped try to fix some of the problems.

Both Tunis and Georganne received $50,000 bonds.

No further information has been released.

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