Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Following up on the Nelms case

While the State of Indiana goes after Robert Nelms for possible fraud regarding cemetery funds (see my post here, here and here), The Indianapolis Business Journal reports others sued the financial services firms, Memory Gardens lawsuit seeks $20M:

An Indianapolis law firm has filed a class-action suit seeking more than $20 million from a pair of financial-services firms it says facilitated the transactions that allowed a New Jersey couple to plunder cemetery trust funds.
Cohen & Malad LLP filed the lawsuit late last month on behalf of thousands of customers of Indianapolis-based Memory Gardens Management Corp., which owns Forest LawnMemory Gardens in Greenwood, Lincoln Memory Gardens in Boone County and other cemeteries. The defendants are the company, New York-based Smith Barney and a Noblesville bank formerly known as Community Trust & Investment Co.
The case is the latest fallout from a massive fraud investigators say was perpetrated by the New Jersey couple, Robert Nelms and Debora Johnson. Marion County prosecutors last month charged Nelms, 39, and Johnson, 48, with nine felony counts each. Investigators say the pair raided $24 million in trust funds that were supposed to maintain cemetery grounds and cover prepaid burials and funerals.