Grand Rapids "Grave Robber" Cops Plea In $4.2M Cemetary Trust Funds Ripoff; Suspected Of Similar Swindle Of $20M In Indiana
From the Office of the Michigan Attorney General:
- Attorney General Mike Cox [...] announced that Robert Earl Nelms pleaded guilty to two felonies for embezzling more than $4.2 million in cemetery trust funds from Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Grand Rapids, and failing to properly administer numerous funeral contracts over a three year period. "Stealing from the dead is a betrayal of the highest order," said Cox. "Families who have laid their loved ones to rest have a rightful expectation that this sacred ground will forever be protected."
- In total, it is alleged Nelms stole more than $24 million from cemeteries and funeral homes he controlled in Michigan and Indiana. He did this by selling cemetery products and services but failing to deposit the required portion in trust for cemetery upkeep and consumers' use. Approximately $4.2 million dollars were from the Grand Rapids cemetery, with Nelms facing charges in Indiana for the
For the Michigan AG press release, see Cemetery Swindler Convicted of Felony Embezzlement.
(1) According to the press release, this is the second defendant convicted by Attorney General Cox for involvement in a major theft of cemetery trust funds. Carter Green of Nevada was convicted in Wayne County Circuit court in December of 2007 for his role in aiding co-defendant Clayton Smart. Cox alleges that Smart embezzled as much as $70 million in cemetery trust funds from 28 Michigan cemeteries. Clayton Smart is awaiting trial in Tennessee on related charges. Upon completion of that trial, Smart will be transferred to Michigan for arraignment on charges filed by Cox, the press release states. EscrowRipOffKappa