Funeral Industry News

Garrett County Funeral Home Owner Arrested

August 26, 2009

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Garrett County Funeral Home Owner Arrested

image The owner of Stewart Funeral Home, Bradley Allen Stewart, 60, of Oakland was charged Wednesday with multiple counts of felony theft, theft by scheme and embezzlement, according to the Garrett County State?s Attorney?s Office. Stewart turned himself in at the Garrett County Sheriff?s Office for crimes allegedly committed between November 2005 and September 2008 that involved almost $170,000.

According to Lisa Thayer Welch, state?s attorney, Stewart allegedly accepted money from 27 customers for preneed funeral agreements, which require money to be placed in trust until the customer dies, the funds are returned or the funds are transferred to another funeral home.

Stewart allegedly withdrew cash from the initial deposit of each customer?s funds and later depleted the accounts.

On July 28, 2008, Stewart?s license was suspended by the state Board of Morticians after the agency reviewed six complaints involving 10 different accounts. The board?s investigation began in late 2007.

Stewart, who had been licensed to practice mortuary science in Maryland since 1971, called the board?s action ?improper, arbitrary and capricious? just two weeks after the decision was made.

He filed an appeal of and injunction against the suspension, but has not pursued either case, Welch said.

The State?s Attorney?s Office has been investigating the case since 2008. After the suspension was publicized, Welch reported that additional people contacted the board and her office to file complaints.

Welch said that the investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be filed.

Stewart was being housed Wednesday at the Garrett County Jail awaiting an appearance before a district court commissioner.

Article From: Cumberland Times