Funeral director commits fraud | Crime
Wauchula, Florida -- Wauchula Police arrested Troy Brant, of Jacksonville, Thursday on various felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from a lengthy investigation into alleged fraudulent practices while he was the owner of Brant Funeral Home in Wauchula.
According to the police department, Brant was a licensed funeral director, embalmer and pre-needs salesperson who owned and operated Brant Funeral Home located as 404 West Palmetto Street between the years of 2003 and 2010.
During his ownership, Brant sold pre-needs or pre-arranged funeral services to various families throughout the community that learned of the services by word of mouth or advertisements in the local media.
Customers were under the misconception the monies paid for the services would be placed in trust by one of the approved trust funds guided by the State of Florida as required by Florida Statutes Chapter 497, and would be available when the unfortunate time came.
The investigation revealed Brant was not registering the services with the trust funds as required and was instead directing all the monies paid by the victims to be deposited in one of several checking accounts owned by him for the Brant Funeral Home business. The funds were then used to pay normal bills for the Funeral Business or for personal expense.
Brant admitted during his first interview by detective Harrison on April 11, 2012 in Jacksonville that he did unlawfully deposit and use the victim’s money to support the business but never intended to hurt anyone and believed he could cover the funerals as they occurred.
During 2006, Brant was unable to renew his pre-need sales license but continued to sell pre-needs services to unsuspecting victims. The discrepancies in the contracts started to surface after a new funeral home business began at the same location. The Department of Finance, Division of Funeral and Cemetery services was contacted and an investigation into various license violations began.
An investigator reviewed the contracts, interviewed witnesses then forwarded the information to the Wauchula Police Department for an investigation into possible criminal violations. Detectives then subpoenaed bank records from several accounts belonging to Brant during the time period and started the process of comparing the victim’s canceled checks to Brant’s deposits.
Brant was arrested on the following charges:
- 1 count Scheme to Defraud
- 2 counts Grand Theft more than $10,000.00 from elderly person over 65 years
- 6 counts unlawful disposition of pre-need funds
- 3 counts Grand Theft more than $300, less than $10,000 from elderly person over 65 years
- 1 count Unlawful deposit of pre-need funds
- 3 counts Use of non-conforming forms
- 1 count Grand Theft more than $5,000
- 1 count Grand Theft more than $10,000
- 4 counts sale of pre-need w/o license
Detectives are requesting any persons that may have done pre-needs business with Troy Brant or Brant Funeral Home to contact their local Funeral Home and verify the pre-needs contract is valid or contact the Wauchula Police Department.
The community can stay informed of updates on this and other cases by visiting www.wauchulapolice.com or Wauchula police on “Facebook”.