November 10, 2009

State funeral regulators, Attorney General take action against Jefferson City funeral home

Jefferson City, Mo. - The State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, along with the Attorney General's Office, announced the licenses of Buescher Memorial Home, Jefferson City, have been revoked. The state board voted to revoke the license of the funeral home, as well as the funeral director's and embalmer's licenses of owner Barbara Buescher after finding multiple violations of Missouri law.

The state board's action also revokes Buescher's authority to sell preneed funeral contracts in Missouri. In addition, the Attorney General's Office is seeking a temporary restraining order to freeze assets associated with Buescher's preneed business, in preparation for seeking restitution for consumers.

The state board's action was based on Buescher's handling of preneed contacts, prompted by consumer complaints. These complaints alleged that Buescher:

  • Charged for services at death that were already included in the preneed contracts;
  • Failed to deposit the preneed funds into a trust or to refund cancellations, both of which are violations of state law;
  • Overcharged consumers for sales tax;
  • Failed to itemize what was purchased; and
  • Made mathematical errors that resulted in underpayments and overpayments.

In an Oct. 20 disciplinary hearing, the state board found 127 causes for discipline against Barbara Buescher and the Buescher Memorial Home: 34 causes for incompetence and gross negligence, 34 causes for violation of professional trust or confidence, two causes for misconduct, 54 causes for violation of the preneed law, and three causes for failure to allow the Board inspector on the premises.

"Missourians rely on funeral directors to be a source of comfort and trust in their time of need," said Martin Vernon, chairman of the Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. "This action is unfortunate but necessary to ensure Ms. Buescher and Buescher Memorial Home lose their licenses, so that consumers in Missouri are protected from such violations of their trust in the future."

The license revocation means Buescher Memorial Home must immediately cease doing business.  Because it revokes her individual licenses, Barbara Buescher is also forbidden from practicing as a funeral director or embalmer in Missouri.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration
The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals.  The department's seven divisions work to maintain consumer confidence by examining and monitoring industries and professions and by establishing coherent and evolving policies.  DIFP works to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.