The Nyman Funeral Home is no longer a functioning entity and is accused of mishandling hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients, according to officials.
On Sept. 27, the funeral home’s establishment license was surrendered, according to the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing website.
On Aug. 21, a Utah Department of Commerce Funeral Services Licensing Board meeting discussed Lonnie Nyman, his funeral home, and some 200 pre-need funeral arrangement documents seized by Logan City Police Department. Cory Snodgrass, an investigator with DOPL, said in the meeting that he was there when the documents were taken — around 80 of the documents were pre-need arrangements paid for by insurance policies, and 110 or 111 of the documents were pre-need arrangements as “single-pay trusts.”
It was stated in the meeting the estimated amount lost — based on the average funeral price in Cache Valley — is between $700,000 and $800,000. According to Utah law, all cash or cash equivalent funds received for pre-need funeral arrangements are to be placed in a trust account.
“There is no trust account,” Snodgrass said in the meeting. “Money was going into the general operating funds.”
On Aug. 12, Lonnie Nyman was sentenced to serve 1-to-15 years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple felonies unrelated to the pre-need payments. After the sentencing, board members said in the meeting they began to hear growing concerns about the pre-need arrangements purchased through Nyman Funeral Home — purchasers of pre-need arrangements wanted to transfer services to another funeral home.
“There’s no money to transfer,” Snodgrass said in the meeting. “That’s going to be a problem.”
According to a DOPL stipulation and order document from December 2018, Kent Lloyd Nyman, Lonnie's father, surrendered his license for pre-need sales. The document states between 2016 and December 2018, Kent failed to maintain a trust account as required by Utah law for multiple clients. The document also states that Kent failed on multiple occasions to maintain records in accordance with Utah law. The document is not an admission or confirmation of wrongdoing, but rather constitutes “unprofessional conduct.”
Another DOPL stipulation and order document from January 2019 stated the Nyman Funeral Home was no longer allowed to participate in, or associate with, the sale of any pre-need funeral plan in the state.
At the time of the meeting, the board voted unanimously to revoke Lonnie’s license to be a funeral service practitioner. The board also voted unanimously to place the funeral home on probation and for the bureau manager, Robyn Barkdull, to seek the counsel of the Attorney General’s Office in regard to what the board can do to compel the funeral home to notify those who purchased pre-need contracts. Placing the funeral home on probation, instead of revoking the establishment license completely, could have allowed them to make good on a portion of the pre-need arrangements they sold.
Capt. Curtis Hooley of Logan City Police confirmed there was an investigation and it is ongoing. He said the case is being reviewed by attorneys and a press release is expected, though no timeline was provided. Hooley declined to release any information at that time.
Lonnie no longer holds a license to be a funeral director, but this would not prevent him from facilitating funeral arrangements. It was stated in the board meeting that the license only allows the holder to sign death certificates and contracts as well as perform embalming and cremations.
In the meeting, Board Chairperson Tom Beard said as a convicted felon, Lonnie could not reapply for his license. However, Lonnie could work with families and make funeral and viewing arrangements if he is released from prison.
“Anybody can work a funeral,” Beard said in the meeting. “There’s no statute that says otherwise.”
Kent Nyman did not immediately respond to request for comment.