Death Care Compliance Law

Death Care Compliance Law

Preneed: A Pandora's Box of Problems

William Stalter is the founder of Stalter Legal Services and the Preneed Resource Company. Bill focuses his law practice on preneed and death care compliance, serving banks, funeral homes, crematories, and cemeteries. He has written multiple published articles

Tag Archives: fraud

Missouri Funeral Legislation: The Funeral Consumer Board

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
A bill has been filed in the Missouri General Assembly that proposes to divide the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors membership evenly between the public and industry representatives.  That Board currently consists of 5 industry members and 1 public member.  The bill sponsor, Representative Joe Don McGaugh, is from a district that includes… Continue Reading

Facing 14 Years’ of Hard Time: One Missouri Funeral Director’s Failure to Deposit Preneed Funds

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Recordkeeping
The Missouri Iron County Mountain Echo ran the following story on August 15th: A former Ironton Funeral Home Director has pleaded guilty to two counts of stealing in Iron County Circuit Court.  The charges stem from the sale of pre-need funeral plans.  George Treaster of Ironton entered a plea of guilty to two counts of… Continue Reading

Chasing Preneed’s Bad Apples

Posted in Associations, Exams/audits
In September of last year, the Columbus Dispatch published a story critical of the Ohio State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.  Examining the Board’s efforts to address preneed fraud, the story reported that prosecutions of funeral directors were more the result of consumer complaints than Board inspections.  That must have struck a nerve with… Continue Reading

Oak Ridge Cemetery: Netting to Make Ends Meet

Posted in Cemeteries
In relation to many of its peers, Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery could be labeled progressive. Oak Ridge maintains both an endowed care trust and a preneed trust. In contrast, a substantial number of the country’s cemeteries have neither. The fact that Oak Ridge Cemetery is owned and operated by the City of Springfield, Illinois, makes… Continue Reading

Taxes and the Bounty Hunter

Posted in Preneed, Preneed Tax
When news of the indictment of 6 National Prearranged Service officers was reported last November, many newspapers picked up the AP version that included a quote from the Internal Revenue Service criminal investigator. The fact is that the Federal investigation of NPS involves investigators from the IRS, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.… Continue Reading

Delegating Preneed Prosecution

Posted in Exams/audits, Preneed, Reporting
Maybe it’s a response to shrinking state budgets, or the fact that the tracking of preneed funds is becoming more effective, but state and local prosecutors are assuming an expanding role in the enforcement of preneed laws. While a recent report released by the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors reflects a drop… Continue Reading

The Smart Deal: Federal time in the offing

Posted in Cemeteries
In the end, Clayton will likely spend many of his final days in a federal penitentiary. The Memphis Commercial Appeal outlines the plea bargain to be entered by Clayton Smart to conclude criminal investigations in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Michigan. Comments made to the Commercial Appeal story express outrage with the prosecutors and the plea bargain.… Continue Reading

Succession Planning Gone Bad

Posted in Funeral
At age 78, Darrell Bennett should be spending his days on a Florida golf course. Instead, he is back in Michigan trying to salvage his life’s work. Like so many funeral home owners, Mr. Bennett handed over the keys to someone he trusted and took back a note for the purchase price. According to stories… Continue Reading

Serving Time in Kansas: Fairlawn Burial Park

Posted in Cemeteries, Preneed
Families and funeral homes harmed by NPS will hope that company’s owners and officers have to face a judge like the Honorable Richard Rome. The Hutchinson News reported that District Judge Richard Rome rejected a plea bargain for probation, and sentenced Fairlawn Burial Park’s owner to almost 5 years in prison. A Kansas Secretary of… Continue Reading

The Domino Effect: the Smart plea

Posted in Cemeteries
Forest Hills’ preneed consumers were hoping for news of retribution, but Clayton Smart’s anticipated plea bargain was put on hold. If news reports are accurate, authorities from Tennessee (and perhaps Michigan and Indiana) have their sites on the individual(s) who facilitated the transactions that eventually left preneed trusts and permanent maintenance trusts depleted. For the… Continue Reading

But, I was going to pay it back..

Posted in Cemeteries
Death care regulators seem to believe that the majority of funeral home and cemetery operators are honest and well intended.  But, the regulators must contend with the occasional operator who views trust funds as their own.  Before taking offense with the regulator’s skepticism, operators need to reflect on the arrogance of operators such as those reflected in a… Continue Reading

Zero Tolerance: Preneed Fraud and local prosecutors

Posted in Preneed
Over the past few years, preneed frauds have been measured in terms of hundreds of millions (with the suggestion that the NPS loss will top a billion).  And, funeral directors and consumers have been frustrated by the perception that regulators are helpless to stop preneed fraud.  Apparently, one local prosecutor from Texas took notice. When the Texas… Continue Reading

Waiting for the other shoe(s) to drop

Posted in NPS/Lincoln, Preneed
Funeral directors will attempt to leverage the Funeral Service Insider’s report about the NPS contributions to state politicians, but they should do so with caution. The story does not paint the entire picture of NPS’ efforts to influence the politics that controlled Missouri’s preneed industry. The amount attributed to the Missouri efforts ($168,000) seems low. Granted it… Continue Reading

Grandview Memorial Gardens: Round up the suspects

Posted in Cemeteries, Fiduciary, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
The families of those buried at Grandview Memorial Gardens are angry.  First they are advised that the trusts meant to fund future burials and the care for those graves are not properly funded. Next, they learn that some of the cemetery’s gardens have a problem with grave spaces flooding with water. When Indiana regulators and prosecutors reported… Continue Reading