Cemetery owner indicted; accused of mishandling pre-need funds

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Published: November 19,2012

Tags: cemetery, death, dying, funeral, government, indict, indictment, law, pre-need, state, trust

TUPELO — Cemetery owner Wayne Hight of Corinth has been indicted, according to a news release from Lee County District Attorney Trent Kelly and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Hight has been indicted for failing to fund at least 85 percent of funds received for funeral services and merchandise as required by state law and misapplying or converting pre-need funds. Each charge carries up to 10 years in prison.

Kelly praised the Secretary of State’s Office for a thorough and investigation, adding personnel “took the time to follow up on the numerous complaints from citizens in Prentiss County about the Oaklawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Booneville, which led to this indictment.”

Hight turned himself into Prentiss County authorities, was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bond was set at $10,000.

In addition, this past week the Secretary of State filed a civil action in Prentiss County Chancery Court against Wayne Hight, Nancy Hight and Brad Hight, asserting a perpetual care deficiency at Forrest Memorial Park in Corinth of $167,760 plus a preneed trust deficiency of $305,761. The Secretary of State has requested court authority to offer the cemetery for public bid.It  has also met with over 1,000 affected individuals and has requested the bidders offer consumer assistance to contract holders.

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