Victim guarantee fund suggested for funeral home consumers - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Victim guarantee fund suggested for funeral home consumers

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NILES, Ohio - The indictment of three men in Trumbull County may revitalize efforts to make sure Ohioans are protected from being taken advantage of during a time of grief.

The Ohio Funeral Director's Association is just one group in talks with the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors to build protections for consumers in the future. While it's been proposed by the board in the past, some are suggesting the state again try to create a guarantee fund.

"The funding would come from whenever a pre-need funeral is sold," Scott Gilligan says, general counsel for the Ohio Funeral Association. "A $10 fee or something would be collected and then accumulated."

Currently, consumers in Ohio have no way of recovering investments lost if a funeral home goes out of business or if a funeral director is accused of stealing money from clients.

Meantime, Niles police say the state's Bureau of Criminal Investigation will have the task of sifting through the financial records of Robert McDermott. McDermott was indicted this week and faces a laundry list of felony charges for allegedly bilking clients out of thousands of dollars.

Nile police say they've resolved questions surrounding a mix up of cremated remains after they disinterred three graves to find the correct ashes. Captain Ken Criswell says one woman's cremated remains were placed in the urn of a man years after his death took place.

"That bothered some people, that of course bothered us as well, that six or seven years later, you have this person that was supposed to be buried and her ashes are sitting on a shelf and then you put those into an elderly man's urn," Criswell says.

Criswell says his department has been consumed with the investigation for months. He credits the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, the Trumbull County Prosecutor's office, the Trumbull County Probate Court , the city law director's office and the city cemetery department for helping them sort through evidence.

 

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