EQUALITY — A former Saline County funeral director has been sentenced to prison for stealing money from clients.
John B. Jones, 53, of Equality was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison. Jones had earlier pleaded guilty to five counts of violating the Illinois Funeral Funds Act and six counts of theft by deception. In addition to prison time, the judge ordered Jones to pay $48,676 in restitution to victims.
A complaint was filed in April 2008 on behalf of Gregory R. Meredith, majority owner of Gaskins-Jones Funeral Home, Ltd. in Harrisburg alleged Jones, who was also corporation president, failed to properly fund at least four prepaid funeral arrangements; failed to pay real estate taxes for 2005 and 2006; was responsible for the fact there were insufficient funds to meet current funding needs of the corporation and that substantial accounts receivable remained uncollected.
The funeral home has since gone out of business.
On May 1 of this year, Jones pled guilty, admitting he received proceeds from the sale of five separate pre-need funeral contracts then failed to purchase a life insurance policy or annuity to fund the contract as was represented to the client. Investigators said each contract was worth between $7,000 and $8,000.
After sentencing Thursday morning, Jones was taken into custody and lodged in Saline County Jail at Harrisburg pending transport to the Illinois Department of Corrections.
— Evansville Courier & Press contributed information to this article.