Funeral home owner accused of misusing money meant for burial services

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BOONE COUNTY (October 28, 2013) – The owner of two Boone County funeral homes is accused of misusing money that was supposed to be used for funeral services.

Jerry Trapp faces charges including obstruction of justice and wrongful disbursement of federal trust funds. He owns Russell and Hitch funeral homes in Lebanon and Thorntown.

According to court documents, Trapp misused money from customers on at least three occasions. The money was supposed to go to a federal trust to pay for funerals. Instead, investigators said Trapp used it to pay his own expenses. The misappropriations included amounts of $7,532, $9,463.15 and $9,267.34, according to court documents.

The investigation into Trapp’s actions began in March 2013 at the behest of Indiana State Police and the Boone County prosecutor.

The issues were first uncovered in August 2012 when a relative died and the family was told by a second funeral director that there wasn’t enough money in the trust to cover expenses. The family had given Trapp a check for about $7,500 to pay for pre-burial services. Trapp later sent a check to the family for about $7,900, saying the money included “growth on funds.” Neither the letter nor the check had any affiliation with the burial trust.

In two other cases, investigators said Trapp received money for burial trusts but failed to deposit it, court documents said.

The obstruction of justice charge stems from incident in which Trapp tried to conceal paperwork to keep police from using it in their investigation.

Trapp admitted to investigators that he was experiencing financial difficulties, court documents said.