Indiana and Funeral home and cemetery scam yielded 24 million Dollars.
An Indiana Cemetery owner is to plead guilty to Fraud on Monday. His Cemetery and funeral scam covered six states: Hawaii, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Iowa and Tennessee. Only Indiana and Tennessee have prosecuted Mr.Nelms in his preneed trust fund schemes.
In the Indiana Scheme Nelms and his wife siphoned away 24 million. His wife agreed to testify against him in return for immunity from prosecution.
From the Indianapolis Business Journal:
“The couple bought the Indianapolis-based cemetery and funeral home business for $27 million in December 2004.
Within days, the couple allegedly drained all $24 million from their newly acquired company’s trust fund, which was supposed to be used to maintain grave sites in numerous cemeteries.”
One property involved is Forest Lawns Memory Gardens, cemetery and funeral home in Greenwood, Indiana. The company involved Memory Gardens Management Corp.
Funeral Industry | Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy.
Indiana map Pic from Wikipedia
AS A CONSUMER AT A FUNERAL HOME OR CEMETERY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE SURE WHO YOU ARE DEALING WITH.
Sometime in the future, burials will happen again at Burr Oak Cemetery.
Although the Burr Oak Cemetery is closed as a crime scene there will come a time that burials will have to continue. Preneed Contracts held by the cemetery will have to be honored. It does seem a little far off considering that the headstones visible at the cemetery are not all put up on the website.
So far there is no accounting of the desecrated graves at the Cook County Sheriff’s website:www.burroak.net
Sheriff Dart has stated that it will be several weeks before the listing of the headstones that are present at the cemetery will be complete.
At that time grave desecrations can be addressed that are not being handled in lawsuits.
Another cemetery in Illinois has had had their licenses removed and closed have to conduct burials.This is Valley View Cemetery in Edwardsville,Illinois. From thetelegraph.com
“They have a responsibility to the people they have sold these pre-need burial contracts, said Carol Knowles, a spokeswoman for the comptroller….burials have taken place with the volunteer help of former employees.
More burials are scheduled for the next few days.”
There is no word whether burials are being conducted at Burr Oak Cemetery now or in the future.
Funeral Industry|Funeral Blog By Your Funeral Guy
Burr oak cemetery pic from religion dispatches.org
Burr Oak Cemetery is not the only Cemetery in Illinois to have it’s license revoked. It has happened at two other cemeteries in Illinois. Mount Hope Cemetery in Bellvue, Il and Valley View Cemetery in Edwardsville, Illinois.
It had been reported(7.16.09) that the cemeteries were shut down. From www.bnd.com
“The comptroller’s office last year reported that more than $300,000 was missing from more than 450 prepaid burial accounts at the two cemeteries. People visiting those buried at the cemeteries have complained about overgrown grass and weeds and damaged headstones.”
The problem with revoking a Cemetery License like Burr Oak Cemetery in Illinois is that there are still burials to be made. Funerals need to happen in a timely fashion. When a Funeral Home license is revoked the Funeral Home is closed. But when a cemetery license is revoked preneed contracts are no longer sold at that cemetery in Illinois.
The preneed contracts on the books have to be honored. Burials will need to continue at Burr Oak, Mount Hope, and Valley View Cemetery.
A hearing is set for AUG 4th, 2009 By the Illinois Comptroller to show cause for revocation of license.
Funeral Industry|Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy.