Department Revokes Licenses of Funeral Director Karen House

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 | 04:18 pm
NASHVILLE- The funeral director, embalmer, and pre-need sales agent licenses of Karen Anne House have been revoked and a civil penalty of $12,500 assessed following an investigation by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. 
 
House admitted that she received funds from 14 customers for pre-need funeral contracts but failed to deposit the funds into a trust account as required by law. The violations occurred during her ownership of the former Gallimore Funeral Home in Gleason, Tenn. She signed a consent order issued by the Department admitting to the violations January 8, 2010.
 
The new owners of the establishment, which is now Williams Funeral Home of Gleason, have cooperated fully with the Department. The Department notified local law enforcement officials of their investigation and referred the Department’s findings to District Attorney General Tommy Thomas. Ms. House was arrested Tuesday by the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department and charged with felony theft of property.
 
“It is important for customers who did business with Ms. House before May 15, 2009, to contact Chris Williams or Scotty Brewer at the funeral home to verify the status of their accounts,” said Funeral Board and Burial Services Executive Director Robert B. Gribble. They should also contact the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department to report any contract problems.
 
“As a rule, consumers who purchase pre-need services should get a receipt of their purchase at the time of sale, as well as supporting documentation concerning their accounts,” Gribble said. “And, those who sell pre-need services are required by law to retain all required accounts, books and records related to each preneed contract for at least two years after the date of performance or termination. The law also says those documents will be available for inspection by customers during normal business hours at the contract seller’s place of business.”
 
Consumers with questions about funeral- or burial-related issues should call 615-741-5062 or visit www.tn.gov/commerce/boards/funeral/.
 
The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/