September 14, 2014

R.O. Savage affiliate charged with two counts of embezzlement

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            STANDISH — The Michigan Attorney General’s office has charged Richard Weishuhn with two counts of embezzlement.

            Weishuhn, 68, of Standish, was arraigned in 81st District Court in Arenac County April 16. He was an employee of the R.O. Savage Funeral Chapel, which had its license suspended by the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in January for failing to escrow more than $600,000 in prepaid funeral contracts and other violations.

            Weishuhn waived a preliminary examination in district court and is scheduled to appear in 23rd Circuit Court April 23 at 9 a.m.

            A copy of the district court complaint shows that the AG’s office charged Weishuhn with one count of embezzlement of $100,000 or more and one count of embezzlement more than $50,000 but less than $100,000.

            A press release from Attorney General Bill Schuette alleged that Weishuhn spent $112,333 in prepaid funeral monies for business and personal use in 2012, and $87,945 in prepaid funeral funds for personal or business use in 2011.

            Both charges are felonies, with the first count carrying a penalty of up to 20 in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000 or three times the amount allegedly embezzled, and the second count carrying a penalty of 15 years in prison and/or $25,000 or three times the amount embezzled.

            “These criminal charges mark a significant step on the road to securing justice for the elderly clients who trusted their funeral home to honor their pre-paid funeral contracts and fulfill its promises but instead, allegedly embezzled those funds,” said Schuette in the press release. “We will do everything we can to ensure the victims’ last wishes are honored and their families receive the peace of mind in knowing their loved ones are taken care of.”

            The press release said an audit conducted by LARA in November 2013 discovered that 174 prepaid funeral contracts valued at $601,438 were allegedly not held in escrow as required by law. The contracts were also allegedly co-mingled with the Savage Funeral Chapel business account.

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