Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces Guilty Plea For Louisville Funeral Home Owner
Attorney General Jack Conway announced that Nathaniel Anderson, owner of Anderson Funeral Service in Louisville, pleaded guilty today to two counts of abuse of a corpse and two counts of violating the Consumer Protection Act.
The criminal case began in early 2007 when, during the course of a consumer protection investigation, a body was found in Anderson’s funeral home, located at 2200 W. Broadway in Louisville. Another body was found at a later date. In addition to the abuse of corpse charges for failing to bury one body and cremate the other, the criminal case includes charges of violating the Consumer Protection Act for failing to deposit payments for pre-need funeral contracts in a trust account.
As part of today’s “Alford” plea agreement, on February 18, Anderson will plead guilty to four additional violations of the Consumer Protection Act.
Conway’s Office of Consumer Protection is continuing to investigate consumer protection complaints against Anderson. The Jefferson Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is handling the prosecution, and the investigation was conducted jointly by the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection and the Louisville Metro Police Department.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Anderson will serve 5 years in jail, or be probated for 10 years. Anderson’s sentencing is scheduled for March 17, at which time Judge Geoffrey Morris will determine Anderson’s punishment. Under the plea agreement Anderson is required to make restitution of more than $20,000 on the six pre-need funeral contracts and two funerals. He has also agreed never engage in the funeral business again.
"Our hearts go out to the families whose loved ones were violated and mistreated,” Attorney General Conway said. “We will continue our partnership with the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the Louisville Metro Police Department to ensure that families receive full restitution and that the defendant receives an appropriate punishment for the crimes he committed."
Anyone who made prepayments to for funeral services, caskets, headstones or urns to Anderson Funeral Service or Nathaniel Anderson is encouraged to complete and send in a consumer complaint form to the Office of the Attorney General. Forms are available online at www.ag.ky.gov/consumer or by calling the Office of Consumer Protection at 1-888-432-9257.
"The Office of Consumer Protection will investigate any additional violations that come to its attention, as it continues to work to protect Kentucky families and consumers,” Conway said.
The Attorney General offers the following information about pre-need funeral contracts or prepaid funeral arrangements.
- Check that the company or person with whom you make the contract (the "agent") is licensed with the Attorney General's Office and is up to date on filing reports. Anyone that offers or accepts money for pre-need funeral contracts must first get a license and must file annual reports. The license is only good for the particular address listed on it. Keep in mind that although an agent would usually be a funeral home, it could also be a cemetery or anyone else that sells pre-need contracts for funeral items such as caskets, vaults, grave liners, and the opening and closing of the grave. However, a prearranged funeral funded through an insurance product is regulated instead by the Kentucky Office of Insurance, so check with that office if you are using insurance to pay for the pre-arrangement.
- Know what you are buying and thoroughly review the contract, as with any important purchase. Ask questions about anything you do not fully understand. Find out what will happen if you move or die away from home, or if you want to use a different funeral home. Ask whether the price of your arrangements is guaranteed and what will happen to any balance remaining in the trust account after your funeral has been performed. Also, find out how your payments will be protected if the agent you are dealing with goes out of business.
- Ask if you will receive periodic documentation that all of the money you pay on the contract has been put into trust at a financial institution. One hundred percent of your payments, including any installment payments, must be put in trust with a financial institution within 30 days of receipt. Your payments and earnings on those payments must remain in the trust account until the time of need. Before paying any money from the trust account, the financial institution must receive a certified statement from the agent that the contract has been fully performed, and must receive a certified or verified death certificate or a provisional death certificate proving your death. Pre-need funeral arrangements funded through insurance products are exempt from this requirement and are regulated by the Kentucky Office of Insurance.
- You are entitled to request a refund, unless you set up your contract to be in an irrevocable trust. The refund must be paid within 15 days of your request and must include all monies you paid and all earnings on those payments. Pre-need funeral arrangements funded through insurance products are exempt from this requirement and are regulated by the Kentucky Office of Insurance.
- Tell your family or another person you trust about your prepaid funeral arrangements and where you keep the related documents. This will help them follow your wishes for your funeral and avoid paying for funeral arrangements elsewhere.
- Anyone with questions about Kentucky's pre-need funeral contract laws may visit the Office of Consumer Protection's web site at www.ag.ky.gov/consumer , or call 1-888-432-9257 to request a copy of the "Consumer's Guide To Pre-need Cemetery and Funeral Purchases.” The Federal Trade Commission also has information about federal rules for funerals on its web site at www.ftc.gov , or call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP to request a copy of "Funerals: A Consumer's Guide.”