Former Funeral Director Pleads Not Guilty to Stealing Money
HARRISBURG, IL – A former funeral director says he is not guilty of stealing money from clients. John B. Jones, of Equality, is accused of selling pre-paid funeral plans, but failing to deposit those funds into a trust account instead spending the money on his business.
Jones is out of jail on $10,000 cash bond. He is accused of scamming seven families out of more than $65,000. They thought they were buying pre-paid funerals, but prosecutors say Jones never delivered his end of the deal.
Jones paced in and out of the courthouse three times Monday morning, but never uttered a word to me while cameras were rolling. Jones ran Gaskins-Jones Funeral Home until suddenly closing it earlier this year.
He left only a recording on the answering machine telling families to arrange funeral services elsewhere. Prosecutors filed criminal charges against Jones after several months of pressure from families claiming they were ripped off.
Court records allege Jones took checks written by those families, cashed them, but never bought life insurance policies or put the money in a trust, as required by state law. Seven families are named in the court documents, but prosecutors say there are dozens more. The statute of limitations ran out on those cases.
News 3 asked Jones if he had anything to say to the families named in the criminal case.
“We really have no comment at this time, if that would be okay,” Jones’ attorney said Tuesday while standing alongside Jones.
News 3 asked Jones why he did not turn himself in when criminal charges were originally filed.
“At this time, we really have no comment about any of those matters,” Jones’ attorney said. “We’ll have more statements to make later at a preliminary hearing.”
Jones then walked out of the courthouse. He is free after posting $10,000 cash bond in September.
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