Funeral home directors arraigned in court on fraud charges

Left to right: booking photos for Kent L. Nyman and Lonnie K. Nyman (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — The owners of Nyman Funeral Home were arraigned in court on criminal charges for the first time. Kent L. Nyman, a 72-year-old Providence man and his son, 45-year-old Lonnie K. Nyman, are accused of illegally selling pre-paid funeral trust accounts and using the money for their own purchases.

Kent Nyman made his initial appearance in 1st District Court Monday afternoon. Defense attorney Scott Williams asked for Lonnie Nyman to be excused, because he is currently incarcerated at the Utah State Prison in Gunnison. Both men are charged with a pattern of unlawful activity, unlawful dealing with property by fiduciary, and communications fraud, all second-degree felonies. Additionally, Lonnie Nyman is charged with theft by deception and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, also second-degree felonies.

Williams said both suspects are aware of the charges. He told the court he had received all of the evidence from state prosecutors and requested time to go through it.

Judge Angela Fonnesbeck said she would grant time for reviewing the evidence. She scheduled another hearing for April 6.

According to prosecutors, the Nymans sold contracts for pre-need funeral plans totaling more than $775,000. Instead of placing the funds in trust accounts as required by law, the money was deposited into two bank accounts, used for operating expenses.

Investigators also claim, records showed both suspects used the funds to buy personal items. The purchases were made at fast food restaurants, sporting goods stores, as well as payments toward the personal credit card accounts for both men.

Police interviewed both men. Kent Nyman stated his responsibility was primarily the sale and contracting for pre-need funeral plans, and he didn’t handle the financing. Lonnie Nyman would deposit the payments.

Both men could each face up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 fine.

Lonnie Nyman is currently in prison after being convicted of trying to have sex with a teenage boy and other crimes. He was originally arrested in October 2018 after family members found photos of the boy on his computer tablet. He later accepted a plea deal and was ordered to serve two consecutive terms of 1-to-15-years.

Nyman Funeral Home has been permanently closed and is no longer in business. The property is currently for sale.

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