Attorney General Chris Koster has obtained a judgment against Buescher Memorial Home, Inc., Barbara J. Buescher, and Barbara Buescher d/b/a Buescher Memorial Home that prohibits Buescher and the business from entering into any preneed funeral contracts and requires them to pay $29,500 in costs and penalties, Koster’s office says in a press release.
Since the Attorney General’s Office filed its lawsuit in November 2009, the defendants have paid $283,378.66 in restitution to compensate 60 consumers who had purchased preneed contracts with the defendants, Koster’s office reports. On the remaining five preneed contracts, the judgment requires that the defendants transfer any remaining preneed accounts within 30 days to a licensed preneed seller or provider or to the purchaser’s next of kin or estate.
“Missouri law requires that the money paid for a preneed contract be put into a trust account or joint account to ensure that it is available when it is needed, and we will continue to enforce this requirement whenever necessary,” Koster says. “I am glad that my office has finally been able to resolve this matter and ensure that all consumers who purchased these contracts will be able to benefit from them.”
The judgment found that the defendants did not place preneed funeral contract funds in a trust account or joint account, as required by the Missouri Preneed Funeral Contract Act. The judgment also found that this conduct constituted an unfair practice under the Merchandising Practices Act.
The defendants are also required to pay $24,500 to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Revolving Fund and $5,000 in civil penalties to the state within 30 days. Once paid, the remaining counts against the defendants will be dismissed.
The judgment resolves the Attorney General’s lawsuit that alleged that Buescher and the business falsely promised consumers that their preneed funeral contract money would be placed in a trust account or joint account, as required by the Preneed Law, when in fact it was not.
To file a complaint against Buescher Memorial Home, Inc., Barbara J. Buescher, and Barbara Buescher d/b/a Buescher Memorial Home, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or online at www.ago.mo.gov.