A former owner and funeral director of the Nyman Funeral Home pleaded guilty to charges on Monday related to the mishandling of pre-need funeral arrangement funds.
Lonnie Kent Nyman, 47, pleaded guilty in 1st District Court to three second-degree felonies: pattern of unlawful activity, unlawful dealing with property by a fiduciary and communications fraud. Two additional second-degree counts — theft by deception and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult — were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
A document filed with the court indicates Lonnie agreed to a potential restitution of over $525,000, joint and several, with co-defendant Kent Lloyd Nyman and a minimum amount of around $350,000. Defense attorney Cara Tangero told the court on Monday that Lonnie would pay $270,000 in restitution up front and make payments of $1,200 per month upon release from the Utah State Prison.
It was also indicated restitution would be reduced if another funeral home honored the pre-need funeral contracts. Tangero said prosecutors, as part of the agreement, would ask the board of pardons for Lonnie’s immediate release from prison.
Prosecutors agreed to a two-step reduction in charges for Lonnie pending successful payment of restitution, according to the document, as well as similar reductions in other separate cases.
Prosecutor Ryan Holtan told the court Lonnie was running a funeral home and received payments for pre-need funeral arrangements. Instead of placing the funds in a trust as required by state law, Holtan said the funds from over 100 different victims were placed in a regular bank account and spent.
Judge Angela Fonnesbeck said most, if not all, the victims in the case had been contacted, and Lonnie was set to be sentenced on Nov. 30.
Kent was also present in court on Monday; his case was set to occur some time after Lonnie’s sentencing.