LARA Shuts Down Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit

Investigation finds remains in advanced stage of decomposition, other deplorable conditions

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

April 25, 2018 – Due to multiple violations of Michigan’s Occupational Code and the Prepaid Funeral and Cemetery Sales Act, and an imminent threat to the public health and safety, the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has summarily suspended the mortuary science establishment license of Cantrell Funeral Home, Inc., located at 10400 Mack Ave, in Detroit; and the individual mortuary science license of the funeral home’s designated manager, Jameca LaJoyce Boone. The establishment’s prepaid funeral and cemetery sales registration was also summarily suspended. Orders of summary suspension were issued by LARA’s Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing (CSCL) bureau.

In response to a complaint from the public, CSCL inspectors found deplorable, unsanitary conditions and other violations that included:

  • After first being denied entry to conduct an inspection, an inspector found an unclean and unsanitary embalming room, with peeling and chipping paint, water stained walls, dirty floors, and stained protective gear.
  • Improper storage of embalmed bodies found on April 10, 2018, in an unrefrigerated garage since November and December 2017; a third body was kept from January 9, 2018 until April 17, 2018, when it was cremated.
  • Improper storage of embalmed bodies found on April 25, 2018 with two bodies in an advanced stage of decomposition, covered in what appeared to be mold and in the establishment’s possession since January and February 2018, and a third body with the facial area covered in unknown fluids.
  • Operating with an expired prepaid funeral and cemetery sales registration and failing to assign its existing prepaid contracts to another registrant or to cancel its prepaid contracts and issue refunds of the contracts to the contract buyers.
  • Continuing to engage in activities requiring a registration under the Prepaid Act, including the sale of at least three prepaid contracts.
  • Failure to deposit at least $21,574 received for prepaid funeral goods or services related to 13 prepaid funeral contracts (a preliminary assessment in this ongoing investigation).
  • Failure to deposit monies with an authorized escrow agent within 30 days of receipt, under the Prepaid Act.
  • Fraud, deceit, or dishonesty, incompetence, and gross negligence in the practice of mortuary science.

“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 CSCL Director Julia Dale. “We will continue to aggressively hold every funeral home in Michigan to the highest standards of public health and safety when providing final arrangements.”

Absent any statutory exception, the failure or refusal to properly supervise the final disposition of a dead human body after agreeing to provide the services of a funeral director within 60 days of receiving the body is a criminal misdemeanor under the Michigan Penal Code. A violation of a state law affecting the handling, custody, care, or transportation of a dead human body is also a violation of the Occupational Code.

Cantrell 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, unless the Department modifies, vacates, or extends the terms of the Order.

Respondents also have the right to request a hearing to dissolve the orders or to meet with the Department to demonstrate compliance with the law or engage in voluntary settlement negotiations. CSCL’s investigation of the funeral home is ongoing and could result in additional charges after the investigation is complete.

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 five 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 year, or both, for each violation.

Any bodies found on the premises of the establishment awaiting cremation or burial and any cremated remains found on the premises awaiting delivery to a customer were surrendered to the custody and control of LARA via its agent, Preferred Removal Services, Inc., a facility with adequate and appropriate refrigeration equipment and storage. 

Members of the public who have questions or concerns regarding the operation of Cantrell Funeral Home, Inc. may contact the Securities & Audit Division within LARA’s Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing bureau at 517-335-5237, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, or by email at LARA-CSCL-Securities-Audit@michigan.gov.

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara
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