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Unlicensed Funeral Establishment Associated with O'Neil Swanson Ordered to Cease Operations
Media Contact: LARA Communications (517-335-LARA (5272))
June 16, 2021 - Today, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), in conjunction with the Department of Attorney General, issued a Cease and Desist Order against Comfort Cremation Services LLC, an entity on file with LARA's Corporations Division with a registered office located at 101 W. Big Beaver Rd., Ste. 1400, in Troy, and its members, O'Neil Swanson, a/k/a O'Neil D. Swanson, II, and George A. Drosis. It ordered them to stop violating the Occupational Code by engaging in the practice of mortuary science and aiding and abetting Comfort Cremation Services LLC in engaging in the practice of mortuary science without a mortuary science license. More specifically, it ordered them to immediately cease all activities requiring a mortuary science license under the Occupational Code.
The investigation was initiated in April 2021 after LARA received a tip from the Michigan Funeral Directors Association that the LLC was transporting bodies to Tri-County Cremation Services, L.L.C. to receive direct cremation services. LARA recently took separate but related administrative action under the Cemetery Regulation Act against Tri-County. Evidence found during the course of LARA's joint investigation with the Department of Attorney General verified the following:
- On April 10, 2020, attorney George A. Drosis organized Comfort Cremation Services LLC under the Michigan Limited Liability Company Act.
- On June 3, 2020, Comfort Cremation Services LLC first identified George A. Drosis as its "member" on its Certificate of Assumed Name filed with LARA's Corporations Division indicating that the LLC's assumed name under which business to be transacted is "Tricounty Cremations."
- On June 2, 2021, George A. Drosis provided to LARA a document entitled "Stock Purchase Agreement," signed by O'Neil D. Swanson, II on June 18, 2020, identifying O'Neil Swanson as a "member" of Comfort Cremation Services LLC.
- The Agreement indicated that Comfort Cremation Services LLC purchased the Tri-County Cremation Services, L.L.C.'s name and business and entered into a land contract with Burrell Tri-County Vaults, Inc. to purchase the real estate associated with its crematory registration held under the Cemetery Regulation Act. The Agreement further indicated that the proceeds used to purchase the property and business were funded, at least in part, by a Small Business Administration loan.
- According to its website, www.comfortcremationsnow.com, Comfort Cremation Services LLC began publicizing obituaries listing dates of death beginning July 16, 2020.
- Many of the deceased individuals found at Tri-County Cremation Services, L.L.C.'s crematory facility during LARA's investigation beginning on May 26, 2021 and thereafter appear to have originated from Comfort Cremation Services LLC.
In 2019, O'Neil Swanson was convicted of conversion of funds under the Prepaid Funeral and Cemetery Sales Act. In 2018, his mortuary science license and the mortuary science establishment license previously held by Swanson's Funeral Home, Inc. in Flint were revoked based on violations of the Occupational Code and other health and safety laws. On June 11, 2021, he and Dianne E. Swanson were ordered by the Ingham County Circuit Court to stop violating a cease and desist order issued by LARA on June 4, 2021, prohibiting them and Tri-County Cremation Services, L.L.C. under their ownership and operation from engaging in activities that require a crematory registration under the Cemetery Regulation Act.
LARA continues to work closely with the Department of Attorney General and the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner's Office to identify the deceased found at Tri-County Cremation Services, L.L.C. still awaiting cremation. Members of the public who have questions or concerns regarding these matters, were contacted by the Swansons after the June 4, 2021 cease and desist order was issued, or who think they may have a loved one who recently received services from either Comfort Cremation Services LLC or Tri-County Cremation Services, L.L.C. should contact LARA at (517) 241-7000 or by email at CSCLonline@michigan.gov.
LARA is a regulatory agency with no criminal enforcement powers. When LARA determines that one of its regulatory actions could result in criminal charges under a law it administers, those cases are referred to either the Michigan Department of Attorney General or local law enforcement.