Lebanon Reporter

Local News

October 26, 2013

Funeral home owner accused of misusing funds

Lebanon — Jerry L. Trapp, owner of two Boone County funeral homes, is accused of breaking state law over the disbursement of funeral trust funds, and with obstruction of justice.

Trapp, 67, Lebanon, was arrested Thursday afternoon by Indiana State Police. He has owned the Russell & Hitch Funeral homes in Lebanon and Thorntown since 1986.

An initial hearing on the charges is set for 2 p.m. Nov. 4 in Boone Circuit Court. Trapp was originally held in the Boone County Jail on $10,000 bond, but that amount was reduced to $100 cash or surety.

Dennis Williams, Trapp’s attorney, had no comment Friday.

The charges include three class C felony counts of wrongful disbursement of funeral trust funds, and one class D felony count of obstruction of justice. The C felony counts carry sentences of two to eight years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. An obstruction of justice conviction carries a sentence of six months to three years and up to $10,000 in fines.

In March 2013, the Indiana State Police and Boone County Prosecutor announced they were conducting an investigation into the possible misuse by Trapp of funeral trust funds.

At that time, Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer said that anyone with concerns about a burial policy for themselves or for relatives should contact the company that holds the policy.

State law requires that any pre-payment of funeral expenses be transferred to a funeral trust held by a bank, trust company, savings association or credit union with headquarters in Indiana. The money must be deposited into the trusts within 30 days of being given to the funeral home.

At the time of the investigation, Trapp told The Lebanon Reporter that no money was missing, blaming paperwork errors for the investigation.

“Everybody’s money is safe,” Trapp told a reporter. “It’s all entrusted.”

But, according to court documents, an investigator said Trapp eventually told the investigator he had been behind on his mortgage payment and had used some pre-need burial funds to cover some of his expenses.

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