W.Va. AG's office sued funeral home

Chris Dickerson Oct. 25, 2007, 7:15am


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office on Wednesday filed suit against a Wetzel County funeral home and its owner, alleging misappropriation of preneed funeral money.

The suit was filed in Wetzel Circuit Court against Iams Funeral Home and its owner, John L. Iams II.

In the suit, McGraw's office claims Iams misappropriated money consumers had given him to purchase preneed funeral contracts. The complaint further alleges that Iams failed to file required documentation with the Preneed Division and was operating without a business license.

In a press release, McGraw's office says this is not Iams' first encounter with the office.

"The funeral home was audited in 2001 and 2005," the release says. "These audits revealed that Iams had taken consumers' money for preneed funeral contracts and placed it into the funeral home's account instead of placing it in trust accounts in the consumers' names.

"Iams would then use these funds to cover the operating cost of the funeral home."

McGraw's office says that after meeting with a lawyer in the Preneed Division, Iams agreed to return all the principal plus interest into each individual preneed funeral account. He also signed an Assurance of Discontinuance to comply with state law in the future.

The AG's lawsuit was prompted when Iams failed to renew his Certificate of Authority and his employee's license to sell preneed. Despite several written warnings, Iams is still not licensed to sell preneed and does not have a Certificate of Authority.

McGraw's lawsuit seeks to enjoin Iams and the funeral home Iams from ever selling preneed funeral contracts. Moreover, McGraw is asking the Court to transfer all of Iams current preneed funeral contracts to another funeral provider.

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