Local funeral home owner faces embezzlement charges - WNEM TV 5

Local funeral home owner faces embezzlement charges

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A Standish funeral home owner faces felony embezzlement charges for allegedly embezzling money from his customers' prepaid funerals.

Attorney General Bill Schuette announced on Wednesday that his criminal division charged Richard Weishuhn, 68, and his funeral home, R.O. Savage Funeral Chapel, with multiple felony embezzlement charges.

"These criminal charges mark a significant step on the road to securing justice for the elderly clients who trusted their funeral home to honor their prepaid funeral contracts and fulfill its promises but instead, allegedly embezzled those funds," Schuette said in a press release.

"We will do everything we can to ensure the victims' last wishes are honored and their families receive the peace of mind in knowing their loved ones are taken care of."

Weishuhn was charged with one count of embezzlement over $100,000, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and one count of embezzlement over $50,000, a 15-year felony. The funeral home owner allegedly failed to escrow funeral contract funds.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) conducted a routine audit in November 2013 on Savage Funeral Chapel's records regarding their prepaid funeral contracts. The audit allegedly revealed Weishuhn failed to submit the required annual financial reports on the prepaid funeral contracts.

The funeral contracts valued at $601,438 were not held in escrow as required by law. The prepaid accounts were also allegedly combined with the Savage Funeral Chapel business account, also a violation of state law.

LARA reported Weishuhn's alleged misconduct to the Michigan Department of the Attorney General. A further investigation by the attorney general revealed Weishuhn spent $112,333 in earmarked prepaid funeral funds for personal and business use in 2012. The investigation also revealed Weishuhn spent $87,945 funds earmarked for prepaid funerals in 2011.

Weishuhn surrendered to authorities April 16 in Michigan's 81st District Court in Standish. He was arraigned at 2:30 p.m. and released on a $25,000 personal recognizance bond.

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