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Anniston funeral home owner charged with 31 counts

Contact: Jennifer Bowen

(334) 269-3550

5/23/2019

The Alabama Department of Insurance announces the arrest of Jeffrey Christopher Williams, 49, of Calhoun County, Alabama, on 31 counts of violating the Preneed Funeral and Cemetery Act, Section 27-17A-22, Code of Alabama, 1975. 

Williams is the owner and operator of Anniston Funeral Services and Eden Hills Cemetery. He was taken into custody on May 22 by representatives of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, a division of the Alabama Department of Insurance, in cooperation with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney of Calhoun County.   

The indictment charges that Williams, a licensed funeral director, sold preneed funeral services and merchandise over a period of several years without obtaining a certificate of authority to offer such services. 

Williams is also charged with collecting money from at least 15 people for the sale of prearranged funeral services, but failing to deposit and maintain the required portion of that money into an established preneed merchandise and services trust account. 

Further, Williams has represented Eden Hills Cemetery is an endowment care cemetery. But he failed to deposit and maintain the required portion of sales for grave sites in an endowment care trust account. 

Endowment care cemeteries must establish and fund an endowment care trust fund with and held by a bank, trust company, savings and loan association, or a board of trustee consisting of at least three bonded board members. 

A violation of the Preneed Funeral and Cemetery Act is a class B felony for payments collected in excess of $2,500. A conviction can carry a sentence of two to 20 years and up to a $10,000 fine. 

(NOTE: An arrest or indictment is not evidence that the defendant committed the crime(s) charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt in court).