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Board Suspends License of Funeral Director Who Sent Family Two Sets of Remains for Father

10/16/2007

CONTACT:
Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—A funeral director who sent two sets of ashes to a family has been ordered to serve a six-month suspension and submit to other disciplinary measures.  The decision was rendered last week during a meeting of the Board of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services.  The board falls under the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services.
 
Leroy Sims, Jr., was funeral director in charge of the now-defunct Serenity Memorial Funeral and Cremation Services, formerly located at 3301 5th Ave. S., in St Petersburg.   The funeral establishment went out of business and the license expired on November 30, 2006. The DFS’ investigation was launched after the department received a complaint from a man who received two sets of cremated remains, both certified to be the remains of his father.   Three other cases against Sims, involving business practice violations, were also brought before the board.
 
“Serving families who are grieving the loss of a loved one is an important responsibility that must be handled with the utmost attention and dignity,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who oversees the department.  “We will investigate and take action against any funeral director who fails to provide the highest service that consumers deserve.”
 
In addition to the six-month suspension of his funeral director and embalmer license, Sims was ordered to serve two years of probation following the suspension; pay an administrative fine of $3,500; pay more than $2,800 in restitution; complete 9 hours of continuing education courses on Florida laws and rules within 60 days of the consent agreement; and take and pass the Florida laws and rules examination prior to the lifting of suspension.  He also will receive a formal reprimand.
 
Kurt Schuller and Thurman Lowe of the Tampa office of the Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services were the investigators.  Consumers can file complaints or ask questions about funeral and cemetery services by calling 1-800-323-2627 or by logging on to http://myfloridacfo.com/FuneralCemetery/.
 
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.