HALLANDALE BEACH (CBS4)- The owner of a Hallandale Beach funeral home was arrested Thursday and is facing grand theft charges, police said.
According to the Hallandale Beach Police Department, funeral home owner Kennedy Stevens of E.A. Stevens Funeral Home at 315 West Pembroke Road was arrested and charged with grand theft. Police said Stevens, 46, was given four checks by a couple for pre-need funeral services but ended up using the money for “personal use,” according to the arrest form.
The report states that Stevens received the four checks totaling $22,662 after Stevens and the woman, Icilene Tomlinson, signed a contract for services totaling $24,670. But after receiving the checks Stevens asked Tomlinson, 75, to make the first two checks of $1,000 each out to his sister Lovette Stevens, which she agreed.
The check were endorsed by Lovette Stevens and cashed at the bank. In April of 2010, Tomlinson returned to the funeral home and paid the rest of the amount to total $22,662. But Kennedy Stevens told her that the “final resting place would be at and conducted by Fred Hunter’s Funeral Home in Hollywood and in a contract showed that $9,990 of the money given would be for the cemetery.”
According to the report, in May of 2010 Stevens and Kennedy went to Fred Hunter’s Funeral Home and met with a “witness” by the name of Austin. Notably, Austin and Kennedy had a previous business relationship and personally know each other.
An agreement was made that Kennedy would give the $9,900 to Fred Hunter’s Funeral Home for the plots and “the balance would be paid by Tomlinson in a payment plan.
After an investigation, it was discovered that Kennedy never gave the money to Austin or the funeral home. He told Tomlinson, according to the report, that he used the money for personal reasons and no longer had it.
When police spoke to Kennedy he said he knew that he did not pay back the woman and did not have the money. He also stated that the money was used before he met with the funeral home.
Police said Kennedy conducted the contract without a license to conduct business within a funeral home.
According to state statute, pre-need funeral contract funds are to be placed into a trust fund, but this was not done by Kennedy, the reported stated.
Police is requesting the public’s assistance in identifying and locating possible victims. Anyone with more information is asked to contact Detective Chris Grieco of the Hallandale Beach Police Department Investigative Services Division at 954-924-3122