McGraw settles with funeral home over advance payments
Keith Loria Nov. 30, 2010, 7:24am
CHARLESTON -– West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has announced a settlement with a funeral home whose former director allegedly misappropriated more than $180,000.
T.R. Stevens Jr., the former funeral director for SFH Inc., a Madison-based funeral home, admitted to misappropriating the money, which was paid in advance by consumers for funeral services.
Stevens, the operator and co-owner of the funeral home, left the business in March. Some concerned customers contacted McGraw's office worried their contracts might not be honored.
According to state law, funeral homes must keep consumers' advance payments in a special account for safekeeping until death and report all transactions to the attorney general's Preneed Funeral Services Division.
Stevens allegedly never disclosed a number of deposits. An audit showed that a number of consumer funds never were put into the special account.
The funeral home was sold and, according to the settlement, $224,000 will be returned to consumers. Stevens has also agreed to a permanent injunction against handling preneed contracts if he engages in the business again.
Additionally, Stevens' former business partners have agreed to pay any additional claims that may come up after the settlement is entered.
Both Stevens and his former business partners cooperated fully with the attorney general's office, according to a release from McGraw's office.