CREEK COUNTY, Okla. - A funeral director is arrested and charged; he's accused of misusing money which was supposed to be set aside for prepaid burial services.
"There were many complaints that came to the department in various forms and capacities over the last few years," State Insurance Commissioner John Doak said.
Those complaints into his office led to an investigation of 62-year-old Ronald Schumacher.
He's the former owner of two funeral homes.
One was in Bristow, the other was in Okemah.
The money that was supposed to be there for people burying loved ones.
"When you're managing other people's money that's held in trust, there are certain things you can and cannot do," Commissioner Doak said.
His anti-fraud office and Creek County investigators were the ones to look into the matter.
Then this week, the Creek County District Attorney charged Schumacher with embezzlement, fraud and accepting prepaid funeral payments without a license.
On Thursday, Okfuskee County charged him with two more counts of embezzlement.
"This relates to a lot of folks over the last couple of years that have been working their way through the system and their money has not been properly handled," Commissioner Doak said.
Records show that the Oklahoma Funeral Board revoked Schumacher's licenses back in September.
He's since sold his businesses.
An audit found that some of the funds were placed in a trust as required by law.
But some were placed into investment accounts and some were unaccounted for.
Investigators also said he may have used the money to bankroll normal operating costs and cover overdraft notices.
There are hundreds of funeral homes that offer prepaid services.
The Oklahoma Insurance Commission said it's happy to answer any questions about a policy.
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