Former funeral home owner ordered to pay almost half million in restitution to theft victims

Booking photo for Lonnie Nyman (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A 47-year-old former funeral home owner has been ordered to pay back almost a half million dollars to customers that he illegally sold pre-paid funeral trust accounts to. Lonnie K. Nyman has been convicted of stealing from more than a hundred customers and using their money for his own purchases.

Nyman participated in a virtual restitution hearing in 1st District Court Wednesday morning, appearing by phone from the Utah State Prison. He previously accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to a pattern of unlawful activity, unlawful dealing with property by fiduciary, and communications fraud, all second-degree felonies.

Nyman sold contracts for pre-need funeral plans to at least 105 victims. Instead of placing the funds in trust accounts as required by law, the money was deposited into two bank accounts used for operating expenses. The funds were then used for personal expenses at fast food restaurants, sporting goods stores, as well as payments toward personal credit card balances.

Since Nyman’s arrest in 2019, prosecutors and law enforcement have been trying to track down all of the victims, to determine how much money they gave Nyman Funeral Home. Complicating the situation was that some of the victims had passed away.

Utah State Attorney Ryan Holtan told Judge Angela Fonnesbeck Wednesday, he and defense attorney Cara Tangaro had agreed on a settlement amount of more than $462,000 for 95 of the victims. He had previously noted that the other victims had been compensated by another funeral home, who had honored the trust accounts.

For more than 10 minutes, Holtan read the names of each victim and the amount they had stolen from them. For those who have died, the money will be given to their family.

Tangaro noted that Nyman had already started paying back the money.

Nyman didn’t speak during Wednesday’s hearing. He has was previously sentenced to one-year in jail but given credit for time already served. 60-days after being released from prison, he has been ordered to begin paying $1,200 a month, or face additional incarceration.

Nyman’s father, Kent Nyman is a co-defendant in the case. The 74-year-old Providence man was a co-owner of the business and is facing similar charges. He is scheduled to appear again in court Jan. 31.

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  • Lonnie Butts January 12, 2022 at 5:34 pm Reply

    “customers that he illegally sold pre-paid funeral trust accounts to”

    Don’t get me wrong, the dude has some major problems on many, many levels, but let’s not be inaccurate in our reporting. He didn’t illegally sell pre-paid funeral trust accounts to anyone. The problem is that he took people’s money that he could have legally provided a pre-paid funeral trust account for but then used the money for his own personal use. It explains that later in the story, but there was nothing illegal about selling pre-paid funeral trust accounts to people, if he had actually done it.

  • Mark M January 12, 2022 at 8:21 pm Reply

    Wow, at the rate of paying back $462,000 at $1200 per month it will take over 32 years to make restitution. I suspect many of the people that he defrauded will be deceased by then. There seems to be a disproportionate punishment for white collar crime in our society. I am sure that the punishment for stealing almost a half million from a bank or a business would be much more severe. One year in jail seems like a light punishment for a crime that impacted at least 105 victims.

  • Blayne January 14, 2022 at 2:34 pm Reply

    Does the 1 year sentence take into account the boy he canoodled?

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