The mother of a U.S. Marine was grieving for her dead son when she found that his savings account had been claimed by the director of the funeral home.
It was money that he had no right to and despite a court ruling, the funeral director refused to pay. What's even more puzzling is that he's not just any debtor, he's the mayor of the small town and a member of a City Council that has financial responsibility for the city's budget.
7NEWS also found that he has other debts as well, something his constituents may want to know.
Jason Sepulveda, a Marine, was training at Camp Lejune in North Carolina, preparing to go to Iraq, when in an evening off-base, he was killed in a car accident.
"My son died instantly and the other Marine died approximately two weeks after," said Elis Sepulveda, Jason's mother.
His parents, who spoke with him weekly, knew he had been saving his money for a long weekend when they would all be together.
"We were going on vacation for the Fourth of July to visit him," Sepulveda said. "I know he had been sacrificing because they don't get paid very much."
Jason's body was returned to Colorado for burial. Records show that the funeral was paid, in full, by the Marines. But after closing out her son's accounts, Jason's mother realized that the probate court had sent the proceeds of Jason's savings account to the funeral home, which is run by Jim Bostick.
"I called Mr. Bostick and I said, 'Well, the courts sent you my son's savings account.' He just kind of really blew me off a lot," Sepulveda said.
She said he didn't give her any receipts or bills and just kept the money.
In addition to his duties as mayor and member of the Ft. Lupton City Council, Bostick also owns two funeral homes. In his role with the city, he is heavily involved in overseeing the finances of the town.
Sepulveda took Bostick to court over the money he wouldn't return to her family. The judge's order in the case was final.
"She gave damages, interests, court fines, everything, and I assumed that if you go to court that you pay it," Sepulveda said.
But despite the judgment of more than $7,500, Bostick has refused to pay.
When 7NEWS Investigator John Ferrugia confronted Bostick and asked him why he was still holding money from the Sepulvedas, Bostick said, "I'm not holding the money for them. I don't want to be on camera right now."
But Bostick not only owes the Sepulvedas, he owes other people money.
"You've got other judgments out there. Do you want to talk to me about that?" Ferrugia asked Bostick.
"No, I don't," Bostick said.
In fact, court records show Bostick has several current unsatisfied debts to creditors from Greeley to Montana and that doesn't include money he owed when he filed bankruptcy in 2001. He claims he is trying to repay the money.
But Bostick didn't want to talk about the money he owes the Sepulveda family or whether, given his personal financial problems, he should be making fiscal decisions for the town of Fort Lupton.
"I want to know if you think it's appropriate for the mayor who has fiduciary responsibility to owe this kind of money," Ferrugia said.
7NEWS obtained letters written by Bostick to the family, saying that he would settle the debt.
"It got to the point where he would just not accept our phone calls and just say, 'I can't hear you, I can't hear you,'" Sepulveda said.
"You wrote. You said, 'I want to settle this,' and you never have. Why not?" Ferrugia asked Bostick.
"I don't recall ever writing letters to ..." Bostick responded. "Well, I don't recall that, no. Right off, I don't recall it."
Finally, using the same double-talk that has frustrated the Marine family, Bostick seemed to make clear he has no intention of settling the claim.
"It will be worked out with them," Bostick said.
"Worked out? You've been saying that for how many years? How many years have you been telling them that?" Ferrugia asked.
"I can't even remember when it happened," Bostick said.
"It's not a real top priority, is it?" Ferrugia said.
"Yes, it is a priority and I feel that it's money that I do not owe them," Bostick said.
"My son was in the Marines and he went there to do what was right for his country. I know for a fact that for somebody to actually steal from him is not right," Sepulveda said. "I feel like me, as a mother, I need to do this. This was my son's money and I'm not going to go away."
The mayor broke two appointments with 7NEWS and refused to talk with us before Ferrugia decided to go to City Hall for some answers. Despite his pledge to settle the issue, Sepulveda said Bostick still has not contacted her.
And despite his apparent questionable financial judgment, he is still involved in making fiscal decisions for the citizens of Fort Lupton.
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