License of Fla. Cemetery Company Suspended

February 10, 2004

Florida’s Department of Financial Services has ordered an Ocala cemetery company to stop operations after it reportedly ignored repeated department warnings regarding a financial deficit.

An Emergency Order was served last week suspending the cemetery license of Lincoln Memorial Gardens, which operates at 3035 N.W. Blitchton Road.

“We will ensure all contracts are honored, that families are assured that their loved ones will be taken care of and that contract holders get all services they are due,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.

A department examination and investigation of Lincoln Memorial found that the company had reportedly withdrawn the balance of its merchandise trust fund and closed the account, leaving the account with a deficit of more than $13,600. The company reportedly failed to follow through on an agreement to restore the deficit and pay a $5,000 fine, and then refused four certified letters.

As an authorized pre-need funeral services provider, Lincoln Memorial is required to deposit specified amounts of the money it receives on pre-need contracts in a trust account approved by the department. The trust funds may not be withdrawn until the pre-need contract is fulfilled or, under certain circumstances, cancelled.

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