Cornerstone Funeral Home Owners Face Criminal Charges
LETHBRIDGE: Regional Police have charged the owners of a local funeral home with multiple Criminal Code offences for fraud and offering indignities to dead bodies.
Members of the Economic Crimes Unit began an investigation after receiving a complaint from the Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board in regard to fraudulent activity at Cornerstone Funeral Home along the 2800 block of 32 Street South.
Investigation revealed that contrary to agreements the Alberta Government had regarding the cremation of decedents who were the responsibility of the province, less expensive trays were used instead of caskets and billed at a higher price.
Further investigation into the company’s operations determined that a rental casket was being re-used without replacement of the liner after each use, cremations were being carried out on cardboard, shipping materials, casket lids and other refuse instead of cremation containers and in one case the finger of a decedent was intentionally cut off to remove a ring (Regional Police confirmed that the ring was given to a family member of the deceased and not taken by either of the accused). The investigation also revealed additional frauds involving the inflation of customer costs for obituaries.
The timeline for the offences is 1996 to 2006.
During the investigation police were assisted by the Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board and Alberta Employment and Immigration (social services). Charges in relation to these matters were ultimately laid following extensive review and consultation with Alberta Justice Special Prosecutions.
Ralph Zentner, 46, of Lethbridge, is charged with four counts of fraud over $5,000 and two counts of offering an indignity to a dead human body or human remains.
Faith Zentner, 46, of Lethbridge, is charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000 and two counts of offering an indignity to a dead human body or human remains.
Both accused are scheduled to appear in court March 8, 2011.
Country 95 News reminds our viewers and listeners that the preceding is a formal statement of charges. These charges must still be proven in a court of law. Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 12/8/2013 9:41:02 AM
Source: Regional Police News Bulletin --