Former funeral home directors bound over for trial and plead not guilty to fraud charges

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

LOGAN — The former owners of a Logan funeral home accused of stealing money from their customers have been bound over for trial. 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.

According to court records, both men participated in a preliminary hearing in 1st District Court Thursday morning. They are 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.

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.

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.

Thursday’s preliminary hearing was one of the first large proceedings to occur in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Judge Angela Fonnesbeck previously granted the hearing because of the extraordinary circumstances (the number of alleged victims and reported amount of money involved).

Kent Nyman appeared in the courtroom with his attorney, while Lonnie Nyman participated by web conference from the Utah State Prison. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges after Judge Fonnesbeck ruled that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence to show the crimes had occurred.

Judge Fonnesbeck scheduled a pretrial conference for June 1.

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.

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

Individuals arrested and charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

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