Morrisey's office files complaint against Monroe County funeral - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Morrisey's office files complaint against Monroe County funeral home

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The West Virginia Attorney General's Office has filed suit in Monroe County Circuit Court against a funeral home for alleged violations of the state's PreNeed and Consumer Credit and Protection acts.

The complaint, filed against Broyles-McGuire Funeral Home and its owner, Joel L. McGuire, alleges that a March 2013 audit by the attorney general's PreNeed Unit uncovered multiple violations, including at least eight death claims totaling nearly $61,000 that were made by and paid to the funeral home even though the beneficiaries were still alive; eight PreNeed contracts for which the funeral home failed to submit a death beneficiary report with the PreNeed Unit to account for the withdrawals, expenditures and disbursements; and four occasions on which the funeral home accepted advanced payments totaling nearly $37,000 for funeral arrangements without depositing the consumers' funds into a trust account or a PreNeed insurance policy as required by law.

The complaint also alleges the audit revealed four PreNeed contracts that the funeral home had failed to record with the state within 10 days of the contract's execution, as mandated by state law.

“The auditor in our PreNeed Unit identified four separate areas of alleged violations and at least 12 West Virginia consumers who were affected by the Defendants’ conduct,” Morrisey said.

The complaint asks the Court to prohibit Broyles-McGuire Funeral Home and its owner from selling, making available and/or acting as the provider of any PreNeed funeral products or services in the state, and it seeks an order requiring the defendants to refund all money received from West Virginia consumers as advance payment for PreNeed contracts not already performed. The complaint also asks the Court to require the funeral home to turn over all PreNeed contracts to the State.

Additionally, the complaint asks the Court to impose civil penalties of $5,000 per violation of the PreNeed Act and Consumer Credit and Protection Act, as well as punitive damages equal to three times the actual damages awarded in the judgment, plus interest.