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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Elizabethton funeral chapel hit with $15,000 in penalties

August 16th, 2011 11:19 pm by John Thompson

ELIZABETHTON — The state Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers recently announced disciplinary actions it has taken against Memorial Funeral Chapel and its director, J.A. Stalcup Jr. The board handed down more than $15,000 in civil penalties.
It is the second week of bad news for Stalcup, who last week pleaded guilty in Carter County Criminal Court to two counts of writing bad checks to Bolton Concrete Products in June 2009 for burial vaults.
The board, which is under the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, assessed a $12,750 civil penalty on the funeral chapel and a $3,500 civil penalty on Stalcup for “immoral or unprofessional conduct.”
The board found Memorial and Stalcup “willfully failed to pay for services received and paid for merchandise with worthless checks.” The board also found misrepresentation or fraud in the chapel’s business conduct.
The board said in its report that Memorial failed to obtain and maintain a copy of current licenses and latest inspection reports on the crematory it uses. It also said the funeral home failed on “multiple occasions” to affix a permanent identification device on the human remains it handled. Finally, the board said the funeral chapel’s price list was not in compliance with the Funeral Rule.
D. Christopher Garrett, spokesman for the Department of Commerce and Insurance, said if in the next two years the funeral home or Stalcup fail to respond to a complaint within the allotted time frame, their licenses would be suspended for six months. That was a disciplinary action that would be in addition to whatever other penalties the board deemed appropriate.
Memorial was also assessed two other civil penalties.
It was fined $500 for allegedly using a preneed funeral contract that had not been previously approved by the commissioner of commerce and insurance.
It was also issued a civil penalty of $250 because Memorial “was unlawfully designated as the beneficiary on multiple prearrangement insurance policies and failed to keep and maintain accurate accounts, books and records in the state of all preneed funeral contracts and prearrangement insurance policy transactions.”
Last week, Stalcup was fined $25 and court costs on each of the two worthless check violations to which he pleaded guilty. Three other charges of writing bad checks to Bolton were dismissed. Stalcup has already made restitution to Bolton. He was placed on unsupervised probation.

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