By jeanne starmack
The criminal investigation into whether the McClurkin Funeral Home directors misappropriated pre-paid funeral funds is winding down, said Girard Police Chief Jeff Palmer.
It’s important, however, that anyone who pre-paid with McClurkin and hasn’t yet called police to do so, he said.
The Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors suspended the embalmers licenses of Patrick J. McClurkin and Robert J. McClurkin at its September meeting. The board also suspended the license of the funeral home at 222 S. State St.
At issue is more than $400,000 the board says the McClurkins misappropriated “from numerous consumers.”
Girard police are working with the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s office on the case, Palmer said.
He said criminal charges are expected. “But we are still getting people calling in so we aren’t done yet,” he said.
He said the calls have slowed down from 50 to 60 calls the first weekend the news broke to one “here and there” now.
The minutes of the Sept. 16 meeting of the state board detailed 178 charges against the McClurkin brothers, and the board said the thefts occurred from 2005 to 2012. Records for 2013 have not been obtained, the minutes reflect.
Under Ohio law, funeral homes must deposit pre-paid funds in a trust or with an insurance company.
Vanessa Niekamp, executive director of the state board, said the board alleges the McClurkins did not make those deposits.
The board charged 90 violations of unprofessional conduct relating to misappropriating consumers’ money, the meeting minutes reflect.
The board also charged the funeral home failed to file annual reports on all existing pre-paid contracts, as required by state law, from 2005 to 2012.