Funeral home receives injuction from judge
Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib issued a preliminary injunction against the funeral home, which has allegedly sold at the very least $77,000 of pre-need contracts and then went on to improperly handle those funds. The preliminary injunction stops the Elk Funeral Home from selling more pre-need contracts for funeral services at this time.
However, the West Virginia Attorney General's Office hopes to get a permanent injunction against the funeral home so that it may never sell pre-need contracts again and that full refunds will be made available for the victims of this case in a very timely fashion.
"This isn't a case of 'oops.' Once you steal people's money, you give up the privilege of selling pre-need contracts," said attorney Chris Hedges, who is handling the investigation.
According to investigators, Surratt broke state laws by failing to report sales of the pre-need contracts to the Attorney General's Office, as well as failing to report how those fund were held. A lot of the money was spent on unauthorized expenses and other funds cannot be accounted for. It is state law for 90% of the pre-need contract payments to be held in trust until funeral services are required.
The victims of Surratt's wrong-doings were contacted by investigators after going through Surratt's books.
Incentives have been put in place for Surratt to agree to refunds quickly. If he does not, waiting for a jury to decide the outcome could increase his liability for the crime.
The hearing on June 6, 2012 attracted a lot of victims who were willing to testify, but an agreement was finally reached between the two parties, as to the terms of the preliminary injunction that is now in place.
|This article was written by Heidi Straka, the Image Coordinator for Judgepedia. She can be reached at email@example.com.|