The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) summarily suspended the prepaid funeral and cemetery sales registration of Royal Funeral Home, Inc., effective May 21, 2019, the mortuary science establishment license of Royal Funeral Home Inc. in Battle Creek, and the individual mortuary science license of its manager, Richard L. Royal, effective May 28, 2019. As of the service date of the orders of summary suspension on May 21, the respondents may not enter into any new prepaid or at-need contracts for funeral services, but they may complete funeral services based on current at-need funeral services contracts for any bodies present at its premises, until May 27, 2019. The formal complaints and orders of summary suspension were issued by LARA’s Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing (CSCL). The funeral home is located at 281 Upton Avenue, Battle Creek, Michigan.
“Michigan residents trust funeral home directors, owners, and their establishments to follow the law especially when dealing with the death of a loved one,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “We will continue to aggressively hold every funeral home in Michigan to the highest standards of public health and safety when providing final arrangements.”
These actions resulted from an audit conducted by the CSCL Securities & Audit Division that found records associated with Royal Funeral Home, Inc.’s prepaid funeral sales contracts revealed multiple violations of the Prepaid Funeral and Cemetery Sales Act (the “Prepaid Act”), MCL 328.211 et seq., and the Occupational Code (the “Occupational Code”), MCL 339.101 et seq., including:
- Failure to deposit at least $269,228.29 received for prepaid funeral goods or services related to 92 prepaid funeral contracts with an authorized escrow agent.
- Failure to deposit monies with an authorized escrow agent within 30 days of receipt.
- Failure to maintain copies of prepaid funeral contracts.
- Fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in the practice of mortuary science.
- Incompetence in the practice of mortuary science.
Royal Funeral Home has 60 days to either assign its existing prepaid contracts to another person registered under the Prepaid Act and notify the Department and contract buyers of the assignment within 30 days of the assignment, or to cancel the contracts and issue refunds to each contract buyer, providing copies of refund checks and correspondence to each contract buyer to the Department within 90 days.
A person who converts funds paid pursuant to a prepaid contract to his or her own use or benefit other than as authorized by the Prepaid Act or who fails to escrow or trust funds according to the Prepaid Act is guilty of a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, for each violation. A person who violates any other provision of the Prepaid Act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than one (1) year, or both, for each violation.
Members of the public who have questions or concerns regarding the operation of Royal Funeral Home should contact LARA at 517-335-5237, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.