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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

Other legal actons taken in Missouri

Friday, August 19, 2005

JEFFERSON CITY - Legal action taken elsewhere across the state as part of Attorney General Jay Nixon's Operation Grave Concerns included:

* Criminal charges in Dent County Circuit Court against Jane Spencer Turner, who operated Spencer Funeral Homes in Salem and Bunker in Dent County, for allegedly taking money for pre-need funeral contracts and then using the money for other purposes.

Turner faces seven felony counts of unlawful merchandising practices for allegedly selling approximately $157,000 in pre-need funeral contracts as an agent for Missouri Funeral Trust Inc. and approximately $88,000 as an agent for National Prearranged Services Inc., two of the largest sellers of pre-need funeral contracts in Missouri.

Nixon has also filed a civil lawsuit against Turner over an additional 75 pre-

need contracts she sold on her own in order to recover $200,000 for consumers.

* Criminal charges against a Vandalia funeral home operator, Donald E. Holt of Holt Funeral Home.

Holt faces nine felony counts of unlawful merchandising practices in Audrain County for allegedly failing to deposit pre-need funeral funds in an escrow account and then using the money for other purposes.

* Criminal charges in Clay County Circuit Court against Larry Keith Lawhon of Independence.

Lawhon faces 10 felony counts of unlawful merchandising practices for allegedly taking several thousand dollars from consumers who purchased cemetery headstones from his Smithville business, LL Monument Co., and not delivering the headstones or providing refunds.

* A lawsuit versus Eddie Swarnes of Swarnes Funeral Home in St. Louis for allegedly taking money for pre-need funeral plans from consumers and not forwarding the funds to trust companies.

* A lawsuit in Greene County Circuit Court against Heartland Monument Company of Springfield for allegedly collecting funds from families for the purchase of headstones then failing to deliver the monuments as promised.

* A lawsuit in St. Louis County against Jeffrey W. Thomure of Manchester, who does business as Standard Monument Co. at St. Charles Rock Road, for allegedly receiving prepayment for cemetery monuments and failing to deliver the markers and then refusing or failing to respond to consumer inquiries.

According to the Attorney General's Office, the charge in the three criminal cases is unlawful merchandising practices, a class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine on each count.

Criminal charges are merely accusations and, as in all criminal cases, the defendants are innocent until proven guilty.