AP News

SC funeral home director facing 106 fraud charges


CHERAW, S.C. (AP) — The former director of a Chesterfield County funeral home has been indicted on more than 100 fraud counts, officials said Monday.

Hubert Craig Norton has been indicted on 106 counts of violating the state's preneed funeral contracts law and breach of trust with fraudulent intent, according to the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs.

Norton was indicted Nov. 26 by the Chesterfield County grand jury. The former owner of Norton Funeral Home in Cheraw is accused of selling preneed funeral contracts without a license and allegedly failed to put the money in a trust account.

Under state law, funeral home directors must have a license to sell the preneed contracts and must put the money in a trust account. If a funeral home closes, law allows customers to transfer contracts to another funeral home, and the funeral home that originated the contract may keep a small administrative fee.

Norton allegedly sold 33 of the preneed contracts with 19 of those customers paying cash. The remaining customers tied their payments to insurance plans, according to Carrie Grube Lybarker, executive director of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Police said they started getting complaints about the burial contracts after Norton Funeral Home closed last year. Since the closure, Consumer Affairs has paid $10,000 to refund money to four families who had a relative die while Norton was under investigation, Lybarker said.

It wasn't immediately clear if Norton had an attorney. Lybarker says this is the first case of its kind in South Carolina.


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