Keith Loria Nov. 29, 2010, 3:00pm
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw announced a settlement on Monday with a funeral home that saw its former funeral director misappropriate 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. Many concerned customers contacted McGraw's office with worries that their contracts may 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 were never put into a bank 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.