BROWNSTOWN, Ind. (WDRB) -- The former owner of a southern Indiana funeral home admitted in court this week to pocketing more than $200,000 that was supposed to be saved in a trust fund for funerals.
James Weesner, the former owner of Winklepleck Weesner funeral home in Brownstown, Indiana, took a plea deal after admitting to using families' money, which was set aside in a funeral trust fund, for his personal and business use. The funeral home has been under new ownership for some time now.
The investigation into Weesner began in 2017, when two people checked their funeral accounts to discover they had been zeroed out. Authorities learned Weesner pulled money from the accounts of at least 25 people.
"Eventually, that caught up to him, and he didn't have enough money," Jackson County Prosecutor Jeff Chaflant said. "Everyone started filing complaints, and then it became apparent that he didn't have the funds for these people's funerals."
Weesner took a plea deal to 25 counts of attempted wrongful disbursement of funeral trust funds. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but his sentence was suspended to probation. Part of the reasoning for that deal, Chaflant said, was Weesner's declining health. Weesner also contributed more than $28,000 that victims can recoup.
In addition, the Indiana Attorney General maintains a fund for restitution of funeral trust fraud. More information can be found here.
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