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Funeral Director Charged with Grand Theft, Selling Insurance without a License

9/20/2006

CONTACT: Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
     
TAMPA—A funeral home director is facing felony charges that he sold a pre-need funeral services contract without a license to a woman he met at church and then pocketed the money. 
 
Tebbie Singleton, owner of Singleton Funeral Home in Tampa, negotiated a contract for $3,855 for funeral goods and services and received a check for $3,155 with the remainder to be paid when the services were provided.  An investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF), and the Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services, determined Singleton never forwarded the money to complete the deal and was not authorized to enter such a contract. 
 
"It is unconscionable that an individual would take advantage of someone trying to prepare for the end of life," said Gallagher, who oversees the department.  "If this individual is convicted, we will seek to ensure this victim and any others are repaid and that he no longer works in this industry."
 
Only one possible victim has been identified so far, but Gallagher said anyone who thinks they may be a victim should contact the department at www.fldfs.com or by calling 1-800-342-2762.   If convicted, Singleton could face up to five years in prison on each charge.
 
This is the first arrest stemming from a joint investigation between DIF and Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services since the latter joined the department late last year.  The new division was created by consolidating the Board of Funeral and Cemetery Services, which had operated under DFS, and the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, which had operated under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. 
 
For more information about the Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services, log on to http://www.fldfs.com/FuneralCemetery/.