Funeral Industry News

Funeral Director Faces Additional Embezzlement Charges

October 28, 2009

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Funeral Director Faces Additional Embezzlement Charges

imageFormer local funeral director Ambrose Bailey got 81 more pieces of bad legal news yesterday. A Fredericksburg grand jury indicted Bailey on 27 counts of grand larceny, 27 counts of embezzlement and 27 counts of violating the Pre-need Burial/Funeral Services Act.

Bailey, 52, is accused of taking money paid in advance for funerals and using it for personal purchases. The money was supposed to be put into escrow accounts.

Court records list 27 people the former City Council member is accused of cheating. There are three charges associated with each victim; 54 of the charges are felonies.

The indictments state only that the amount each victim paid was more than $200. However, a source said the total is well over $100,000.

It was not clear yesterday whether any of the victims listed in court records are deceased. The vast majority are known to still be alive.

The dates of the alleged thefts range from January 1986 to January of this year.

Bailey had previously been indicted on 22 felony forgery charges for allegedly signing doctors’ names on death and cremation certificates. A trial on those charges is scheduled for Dec. 16.

Bailey was a longtime funeral director at his father’s business, Bailey Funeral Service. The state has closed the business down, primarily because of Bailey’s troubles.

The investigation into the pre-needs contracts began after a customer called police after learning of Bailey’s forgery arrests.

Mary W. Lomax told police that she’d gotten a tip that her contract with Bailey Funeral Service might be invalid, court records state.

Lomax wrote a check for $5,705.75 in June 2006 that was deposited into Bailey’s personal checking account, an affidavit for a search warrant states. The affidavit says that $1,500 in cash was withdrawn.

Detective Wayne Hunnicutt investigated Lomax’s complaint and apparently found 26 other victims.

Mark Gardner, Bailey’s attorney, yesterday declined to comment on the new charges.

Writer: Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

Email: [email protected]