Northeast Mississippi Cemeteries Ordered to Cease and Desist
Jackson, MS— Forrest Memorial Park of Corinth and Oaklawn Memorial Park of Booneville have been ordered to cease and desist with all sales of pre-need goods and services to the public.
“We are in the early stages of reviewing the books and records of these two cemeteries. Our examiners have already have statements these cemeteries have over $100,000 missing from their perpetual care trust accounts,” says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “This is unacceptable. Our Agency feels it is in the best interest to the public that we order these cemeteries to cease and desist with pre-need sales until we can determine they can adequately service their contractual obligations.”
Forrest Memorial Park and Oaklawn Memorial Park are owned and operated by Wayne Hight of Corinth. Hight Funeral Home is located on property which adjoins Forrest Memorial Park. The funeral home is not currently subject to the cease and desist order.
“If you currently pay for cemetery lots at either of these cemeteries,” adds Secretary Hosemann, “we encourage you to continue to do so. We have ordered these funds be placed in a separate account until a final determination can be made on this matter. Also, customers should keep making insurance premium payments if they purchased an insurance policy to pay for funeral and cemetery merchandise and services. This cease and desist order is for future pre-need sales only for vaults, markers, and grave opening/closing services paid in either a lump sum or monthly installments.”
An administrative hearing has been scheduled in this case for Friday, August 19, 2011 at 10:30 am at the Second Floor Conference Room of the Secretary of State’s Office located at 700 North Street in Jackson, Mississippi.
If you have a contract with these two cemeteries and have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Regulation and Enforcement Division of the Secretary of State’s Office at (601) 359-9055.
Unless a purchase is funded with an insurance policy, cemeteries are required to trust 85% of all preneed sales for vaults, memorial markers, and grave opening/closing services. Additionally, 15% must be maintained in a separate perpetual care trust on all sales of grave spaces to ensure the long term care and maintenance of the cemetery grounds.