Neb. Cemetery to Repay Missing Money from Funeral Trusts

February 19, 2008

A Lincoln cemetery plans to reimburse several hundred funeral accounts that had missing funds that were not properly transferred.

The department released a report indicating a lawyer with the Nebraska Department of Insurance said the department could not determine what happened to the missing funds, just that they were gone.

The accounts were apparently sold by Stewart Enterprises, a corporation that ran the cemetery until 2002, when it was bought by the Wyuka public charitable corporation.

According to the insurance department, about $445,000 was transferred from Stewart to Wyuka, but not all that money ended up in the proper individual accounts.

According to the report, Wyuka will repay the money with 5 percent interest per year when the owner of the account has died or transferred the policy to another home.

The report also said nearly $6,000 was unaccounted for when the cemetery bought insurance to replace about 90 trust accounts.

The department’s report did not describe any potential criminal activity when it came to the funds. Insurance department lawyer Joel Green said the department forwarded information to other agencies but did not request a criminal investigation.

Jeff Schumacher, chairman of the cemetery board, said the money was deposited into Wyuka’s general operating account.

“I do not believe any money is missing,” Schumacher said. He was not on the board when the transfer occurred.

Problems with the accounts were noted in a January report by State Auditor Mike Foley.

Foley’s investigation also concluded that an employee had embezzled $40,000, which led to the cemetery manager’s resignation. Foley said the manager had not reviewed sales, purchases and payments as required by his job. The State Patrol was investigating the employee.

On the Net: Wyuka Cemetery:

Information from: Lincoln Journal Star,

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