Proposed bill to penalize funeral home fraud - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Proposed bill to penalize funeral home fraud

Posted: Updated:
JACKSONVILLE - AL -

Funeral packages paid for in advance are pretty common.

Many people choose to have their grave plot reserved and headstone in place long before they die. No problem. Unless an unscrupulous funeral director fails to put the money for the funeral in a trust or mishandles it in some other way.

The K. L. Brown Bill, otherwise known as House Bill 31, would make it a felony for funeral home directors to mismanage that money. Right now it's only a misdemeanor.

The bill's author, a state representative from Jacksonville, who is also a funeral home director says it's aimed at protecting the "family's money."

K. L. Brown, has been in the funeral home business for 34 years. Part of that business includes "pre-need" funeral arrangements.

"It makes things so much easier for us and for the family," says Brown.

While it may ease the burden, some funeral home directors may see it as an opportunity for fraud. In which pre-need money will be taken, without providing the services or the money is used for other purposes.

"In the past, if you did not have a certificate of authority to sell pre-need, (insurance agencies) could not go in and audit your records," explains Brown. "So if someone wanted to sneak around with some and sell some pre need (services), and put (the money) in their operating budget, there was no mechanism aimed at catching them."

Under a pre-need funeral law passed ten years ago, mismanaging the money is a misdemeanor.

With the proposed House Bill 31, it would become a felony for funeral home workers to fail to deposit pre-need payments in a trust, or to withdraw it for a reason unrelated to the pre-need contract.
 
"If you have a strong law in place, and you got some strong penalties in place, there's a lot less likelihood of someone wanting to take advantage of a family," Brown says of the propose bill.

Brown's bill sets up new rules for how pre-need money can be held in a trust, and for state audits to make sure funeral homes will honor contracts.

"It will allow the department of insurance to come in and audit these funeral homes who don't have certificates of authority. But if they're suspected of wrongdoing, you can go in and audit them now," says Brown.

Ultimately, Brown says it guarantees the family will use the same funeral home in the future.  And that pre-need is not the funeral home directors money, it's the family's money.

"That's the approach that every funeral director needs to have that sells pre-need funerals, is when they take this family's money," says Brown. "That's their money, it's not your money. It's not yours until you provide the services."

Brown's bill will come before the Alabama House of Representatives sometime after the start of the legislative session February 5.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Governor Bentley awards $1.7 million for highway safety programs

    Governor Bentley awards $1.7 million for highway safety programs

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:28 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:28:30 GMT
    Governor. Robert Bentley has awarded more than $1.7 million in grants to sustain programs that make Alabama roads safer, reducing injuries and fatalities. The state’s nine regional traffic safety offices and the Alabama Department of Public Safety will use the funds to conduct extra traffic safety patrols and checkpoints targeting speeding, seat belt violations and drunken driving during peak travel times throughout...More >>
    Governor. Robert Bentley has awarded more than $1.7 million in grants to sustain programs that make Alabama roads safer, reducing injuries and fatalities. The state’s nine regional traffic safety offices and the Alabama Department of Public Safety will use the funds to conduct extra traffic safety patrols and checkpoints targeting speeding, seat belt violations and drunken driving during peak travel times throughout...More >>
  • Gulf Shores teenager wanted for beach shooting turns himself in

    Gulf Shores teenager wanted for beach shooting turns himself in

    Monday, April 21 2014 9:27 AM EDT2014-04-21 13:27:05 GMT
    Jermaine Cungious, turned himself in after a shooting on a public beach in Gulf ShoresJermaine Cungious, turned himself in after a shooting on a public beach in Gulf Shores
    A teenager wanted in connection with an April 16 shooting on a public beach in Gulf Shores that wounded another teen has turned himself into police.Jermaine Cungious, 18, turned himself in to Gulf Shores Police Saturday afternoon and has been transferred to the Baldwin County Detention Center in Bay Minette. Cungious is charged with reckless endangerment and Assault 2nd degree.Investigators say the Bay Minette teenager is accused of shooting 18 year-old Tommie Jackson of Spanish Fort during ...More >>
    A teenager wanted in connection with an April 16 shooting on a public beach in Gulf Shores that wounded another teen has turned himself into police.Jermaine Cungious, 18, turned himself in to Gulf Shores Police Saturday afternoon and has been transferred to the Baldwin County Detention Center in Bay Minette. Cungious is charged with reckless endangerment and Assault 2nd degree.Investigators say the Bay Minette teenager is accused of shooting 18 year-old Tommie Jackson of Spanish Fort during ...More >>
  • Standoff at fireworks stand in Huntsville

    Standoff at fireworks stand in Huntsville

    Monday, April 21 2014 6:39 AM EDT2014-04-21 10:39:25 GMT
    Police say standoff happened after a man in the store threatened employees.More >>
    Police say standoff happened after a man in the store threatened employees.
    More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Groundbreaking set for Birmingham Beltline

    Groundbreaking set for Birmingham Beltline

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:29 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:29:37 GMT
    Officials are breaking ground near Birmingham on a 52-mile road that would complete a perimeter highway around Alabama's largest metropolitan area. Gov. Robert Bentley is among the leaders expected to be on hand Monday morning at a ceremony to mark the first phase of work on the Northern Beltline.More >>
    Officials are breaking ground near Birmingham on a 52-mile road that would complete a perimeter highway around Alabama's largest metropolitan area. Gov. Robert Bentley is among the leaders expected to be on hand Monday morning at a ceremony to mark the first phase of work on the Northern Beltline.
    More >>
  • UA students help with Katrina documentary

    UA students help with Katrina documentary

    Monday, April 21 2014 8:44 AM EDT2014-04-21 12:44:42 GMT
    A group of University of Alabama students is helping the U.S. Coast Guard on a documentary. That documentary looks at relief efforts in south Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. More >>
    A group of University of Alabama students is helping the U.S. Coast Guard on a documentary. That documentary looks at relief efforts in south Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. More >>
  • Crime Stoppers April 20: Most Wanted

    Crime Stoppers April 20: Most Wanted

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:00 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:00:16 GMT
    "I'm Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale.Each week, we're making progress in our efforts to find wanted suspects. This week, we're working hard to find these people. If you've seen them, give Crime StoppersMore >>
    Each week, detectives are making progress in our efforts to find wanted suspects. This week, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is working hard to find these people. If you've seen them, give Crime Stoppers a call.More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Civil War movie "Union" filming in Montevallo

    Civil War movie "Union" filming in Montevallo

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:54:35 GMT
    An independent film crew is in Montevallo this weekend to shoot scenes for an upcoming feature.The movie is titled "Union" and is about a "female" confederate soldier in the civil war.Whitney Hamilton wrote the screenplay. She said she wrote a play about a decade ago that told the story of Joan of Arc, and wanted to write another script about some female combatants from the United States.She researched the subject and learned more than 400 women disguised themselves as men during the Civil Wa...More >>
    An independent film crew is in Montevallo this weekend to shoot scenes for an upcoming feature.The movie is titled "Union" and is about a "female" confederate soldier in the civil war.Whitney Hamilton wrote the screenplay. She said she wrote a play about a decade ago that told the story of Joan of Arc, and wanted to write another script about some female combatants from the United States.She researched the subject and learned more than 400 women disguised themselves as men during the Civil Wa...More >>
  • Active shooter drill and training at Etowah County Judicial Center

    Active shooter drill and training at Etowah County Judicial Center

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:04 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:04:12 GMT
    Etowah County Judicial Center staff barricaded themselves in their offices Friday morning, as security deputies searched for armed intruders. The guns were bright orange and solid rubber, as the scenarioMore >>
    Etowah County Judicial Center staff barricaded themselves in their offices Friday morning, as security deputies searched for armed intruders. The guns were bright orange and solid rubber, as the scenarioMore >>
  • Active shooter drill in Etowah County today

    Active shooter drill in Etowah County today

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:22 AM EDT2014-04-18 09:22:38 GMT
    An active shooter drill will take place at the Etowah County Courthouse Friday, April 18, 2014.It's part of training for law enforcement. A full-scale simulation of an active shooter inside the JudicialMore >>
     A full-scale simulation of an active shooter inside the Judicial Building will allow law enforcement officers to prepare for a real life situation.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Your Health: Codeine and kids

    Your Health: Codeine and kids

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:43 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:43:50 GMT
    A new study shows that some doctors prescribe codeine to children despite warnings from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The latest research found emergency room physicians still hand out hundreds of thousands of codeine prescriptions for children every year, despite warnings that kids' responses to codeine vary wildly and the drug can cause an accidental overdose. According to an analysis of hospital survey data collected annually by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ...More >>
    A new study shows that some doctors prescribe codeine to children despite warnings from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The latest research found emergency room physicians still hand out hundreds of thousands of codeine prescriptions for children every year, despite warnings that kids' responses to codeine vary wildly and the drug can cause an accidental overdose. According to an analysis of hospital survey data collected annually by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ...More >>
  • Groundbreaking set for Birmingham Beltline

    Groundbreaking set for Birmingham Beltline

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:29 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:29:37 GMT
    Officials are breaking ground near Birmingham on a 52-mile road that would complete a perimeter highway around Alabama's largest metropolitan area. Gov. Robert Bentley is among the leaders expected to be on hand Monday morning at a ceremony to mark the first phase of work on the Northern Beltline.More >>
    Officials are breaking ground near Birmingham on a 52-mile road that would complete a perimeter highway around Alabama's largest metropolitan area. Gov. Robert Bentley is among the leaders expected to be on hand Monday morning at a ceremony to mark the first phase of work on the Northern Beltline.
    More >>
  • Governor Bentley awards $1.7 million for highway safety programs

    Governor Bentley awards $1.7 million for highway safety programs

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:28 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:28:30 GMT
    Governor. Robert Bentley has awarded more than $1.7 million in grants to sustain programs that make Alabama roads safer, reducing injuries and fatalities. The state’s nine regional traffic safety offices and the Alabama Department of Public Safety will use the funds to conduct extra traffic safety patrols and checkpoints targeting speeding, seat belt violations and drunken driving during peak travel times throughout...More >>
    Governor. Robert Bentley has awarded more than $1.7 million in grants to sustain programs that make Alabama roads safer, reducing injuries and fatalities. The state’s nine regional traffic safety offices and the Alabama Department of Public Safety will use the funds to conduct extra traffic safety patrols and checkpoints targeting speeding, seat belt violations and drunken driving during peak travel times throughout...More >>
  • Gulf Shores teenager wanted for beach shooting turns himself in

    Gulf Shores teenager wanted for beach shooting turns himself in

    Monday, April 21 2014 9:27 AM EDT2014-04-21 13:27:05 GMT
    Jermaine Cungious, turned himself in after a shooting on a public beach in Gulf ShoresJermaine Cungious, turned himself in after a shooting on a public beach in Gulf Shores
    A teenager wanted in connection with an April 16 shooting on a public beach in Gulf Shores that wounded another teen has turned himself into police.Jermaine Cungious, 18, turned himself in to Gulf Shores Police Saturday afternoon and has been transferred to the Baldwin County Detention Center in Bay Minette. Cungious is charged with reckless endangerment and Assault 2nd degree.Investigators say the Bay Minette teenager is accused of shooting 18 year-old Tommie Jackson of Spanish Fort during ...More >>
    A teenager wanted in connection with an April 16 shooting on a public beach in Gulf Shores that wounded another teen has turned himself into police.Jermaine Cungious, 18, turned himself in to Gulf Shores Police Saturday afternoon and has been transferred to the Baldwin County Detention Center in Bay Minette. Cungious is charged with reckless endangerment and Assault 2nd degree.Investigators say the Bay Minette teenager is accused of shooting 18 year-old Tommie Jackson of Spanish Fort during ...More >>
  • UA students help with Katrina documentary

    UA students help with Katrina documentary

    Monday, April 21 2014 8:44 AM EDT2014-04-21 12:44:42 GMT
    A group of University of Alabama students is helping the U.S. Coast Guard on a documentary. That documentary looks at relief efforts in south Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. More >>
    A group of University of Alabama students is helping the U.S. Coast Guard on a documentary. That documentary looks at relief efforts in south Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. More >>
  • Standoff at fireworks stand in Huntsville

    Standoff at fireworks stand in Huntsville

    Monday, April 21 2014 6:39 AM EDT2014-04-21 10:39:25 GMT
    Police say standoff happened after a man in the store threatened employees.More >>
    Police say standoff happened after a man in the store threatened employees.
    More >>
  • ABI investigate shooting

    ABI investigate shooting

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-04-21 01:11:58 GMT
    Officers investigate a shooting in the parking lot of Papa Sias Sports Grille. Helena and Pelham police were on the scene around 8:30 Saturday. More >>
    Officers investigate a shooting in the parking lot of Papa Sias Sports Grille. Helena and Pelham police were on the scene around 8:30 Saturday. More >>
  • Fairfield police: burned body dumped at house, crime committed elsewhere

    Fairfield police: burned body dumped at house, crime committed elsewhere

    Sunday, April 20 2014 8:02 PM EDT2014-04-21 00:02:53 GMT
    The burned body found in a the backyard of a Fairfield house has not been identified. But police say it was a woman. They also believe there is another crime scene.More >>
    The burned body found in a the backyard of a Fairfield house has not been identified. But police say it was a woman. They also believe there is another crime scene.More >>