Archive | July, 2009

Felony Charges a possibility in Illinois Funeral Fund theft-yourfuneralguy

31 Jul

The Illinois Funeral Directors Association has conducted a Funeral Scam where up to 100 million dollars were lost

The Illinois Funeral Directors Association has conducted a Funeral Scam where up to 100 million dollars was lost

Felony Charges  could happen in the Illinois Funeral Directors Association Preneed Ponzi Scheme. The former trust administrator Karen Blankenship, admitted this in a deposition in April. The Illinois Comptrollers Office confirmed this.

Funds were taken out of the IFDA preneed trust beyond the amount allowed by law. This is a felony.

From Karen Knowles, the Office of the Comptroller, State of Illinois via the State Journal Register, Newspaper

“We are pursuing civil actions because they are the best way to obtain funds for consumers,” Knowles wrote in an e-mailed response to queries from The State Journal-Register.

“A criminal action in state court is always an option.The comptroller’s office alerted appropriate authorities of its findings. In cooperation with the attorney general’s office, we have demanded return of $9.6 million in excess fees.”

More of what has been kept from the public is coming into the light.

iStock_000006409752XSmallThe IFDA presidents in 2006 and 2007 should be held directly accountable. So Should the Director of the Museum of Funeral Customs.

IFDA:President 2006-2007-Charles Childs Jr, AA Rayner and Sons Modern Funeral Service,

IFDA President 2007-2008 Geoffrey W. Hurd, Hurd Hendricks Funeral Homes,

Director Of Museum of Funeral Customs: NFDA Executive Secretary, Randall L

If anyone else misappropriated, stole or embezzled 2 million dollars.
Where would they be….prison.

What is taking so long?

Collecting from the Folks Funeral money 2 million dollars 2 years in a row is a despicable theft.
Quoting from the State Journal Register Article, Springfield, Illinois:

“Audits commissioned by IFDA show the association collected more than $2 million in fees in 2006 and again in 2007′.”

Funeral Industry |Funeral blog by Your Funeral Guy.

Randall L Earl is named here because he is public figure as the National Funeral Directors Association Executive Secretary. He is an ex IFDA President and named in this Scandal in the publication the Funeral Service Insider.

Charles Childs Jr. is a public figure because he is an ex IFDA President and has been named in this Scandal in a February 2008 State Journal Register Article.

Geoffrey W. Hurd is named in this post because he is an ex IFDA President named in the press.

The three are defendants in multiple lawsuit(s).

The gentlemen mentioned here are innocent till proven guilty but given the gravity of the situation, they should not be in leadership roles in the industry. This is your funeral guy’s opinion. Other people in the industry and the press have addressed these matters.



Burr Oak Cemetery Scandal:No term burials at Burr Oak-yourfuneralguy

31 Jul

iStock_000004382065XSmallThe good news is that Burr Oak cemetery did no term burials. This is according to cbs2 in Chicago. Term Burials or term graves as they are sometimes called are grave sites that are rented for 20 to 25 years. After that the headstone can be removed and a a grave sold on top of the older one. In this type of contract a new headstone can be placed.

It should be noted that caskets, bodies  and graves cannot be dug up without the family being notified. When it happens a Funeral Director has to be present.

The things that went on at Burr Oak Cemetery is an unspeakable crime.

Snippet from CBS2 local news

“Burr Oak Cemetery has never conducted term burials.

You can search for headstones at Burr Oak Cemetery here:

Funeral Industry|Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy

Indiana Funeral home|cemetery scam $24 million-yourfuneralguy

30 Jul

Indiana and Funeral home and cemetery scam yielded 24 million Dollars.

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


Burr oak Cemetery Scandal:Preneed Contracts will have to be honored.-yourfuneralguy

30 Jul

Sometime in the future, burials will happen again at Burr Oak Cemetery.

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

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

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

Burr Oak Cemetery:2 other Illinois cemeteries licenses revoked-YourFuneralGuy

30 Jul

iStock_000004869181MediumBurr 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

“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.


Burr Oak Cemetery Scandal|Searchable Website link-yourfuneralguy

29 Jul

The Cook County Sheriff has announced a searchable website for Headstones at Burr Oak Cemetery

The Cook County Sheriff has announced a searchable website for Headstones at Burr Oak Cemetery

The Cook  County Sheriff has announced that there is a searchable  website(url) available for victims of the Burr Oak Cemetery Scandal. This is a beginning to helping families with their grief.

This is a start to helping families with their grief. Right now there is a limited list of headstones to be searched. Families can begin searching for there loved ones without making a trip to the cemetery. Families can go there now and search pictures of headstones, and look for grave locations.

Here is the link,

The Cook County Sheriff needs to be complemented for making this available quickly.

Snippet from

“The new site,, launched with a partial list of the headstones affected. The department hopes to have a completed list of headstones within two weeks. Once completed, the site will also include an option to notify a detective if a headstone is missing.”

Funeral Industry|Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy

Funeral Preneed is Dead Even in the Richest Towns-YourFuneralGuy.

29 Jul

A Preneed Funeral Arrangement is a contract, it is not wise to participate

A Preneed Funeral Arrangement is a contract, it is not wise to participate

Funeral preneed is dead and in need of a burial. This is true even in the richest cities and towns. The main reason is that no honest funeral director will say that you can lock in today’s prices 1, 2, or 10 years from now. In the Uncertain economy the pitch given for 30 years in the funeral industry has become a lie.  If a funeral director or preneed specialist(counselor) tells you that prices are “locked in” get up and leave.

Even In the posh suburbs of Chicago Preneed sales are scant.

From  Naperville the plush Chicago Suburb.

“Stephanie Jones-Kastelic, co-owner of Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home, said the number of prepay{PRE NEED} packages purchased is going down.

In previous years, financially well-off couples in their 70s and 80s would come to the funeral home to pre-purchase funeral packages so their children or family would not have to cover the costs. This year, Jones-Kastelic said, she sees very few of those couples, and most of her pre-pay customers are seniors about to go on Medicare who want to spend their own money on the expense, which Medicare does not cover.”-THE NAPERVILLE SUN

The Funeral Preneed Scandals have been massive in the last several years:Illinois Funeral Directors Association  (IFDA up to 100 Million), National Prearranged Services(NPS over 1 Billion), Wade Funeral Home, Burr Oak Cemetery-many more.

Funeral Industry|Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy

Source: THE NAPERVILLE SUN and the Funeral Experience of Your Funeral Guy.