LOGAN — A preliminary hearing has been set for the former owners of a Logan funeral home accused of stealing money from their customers. Kent L. Nyman, a 73-year-old Providence man and his son, 46-year-old Lonnie K. Nyman, are accused of illegally selling pre-paid funeral trust accounts and using the money for their own purchases.
Both men participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Wednesday morning, appearing by web conference. They had previously been charged with a pattern of unlawful activity, unlawful dealing with property by fiduciary, and communications fraud, all second-degree felonies. Additionally, Lonnie Nyman was charged with theft by deception and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, also second-degree felonies.
The case has been delayed for more than a year due to coronavirus regulations that prohibit in-person court hearings.
Ryan Holtan from the State Attorney General’s Office told the court he had worked out a time frame when attorneys for both sides would be available. During the half-day preliminary hearing, a judge will determine whether or not prosecutors have sufficient evidence to bind the two men over for trial.
Judge Angela Fonnesbeck scheduled the hearing for April 15. It will be held in-person, due to the number of witnesses. However, since CDC guidelines prohibit more than 20 people in the courtroom at a time, the hearing will also be broadcast by web conference.
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 personal credit card balances.
Both men could each face up to 15 years in prison and a $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.