INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service has dismissed a complaint against an Alexandria-based funeral home owner accused of forging the initials of a township trustee on a document.
According to a draft of the minutes for the board’s Oct. 7 administrative hearing, Michael Owens, owner of Owens Memorial Services, will not be criminally charged for initialing the authorization in 2019 for a cremation paid for by the Monroe Township Trustee’s Office.
Owens stood accused of signing a cremation form that contained false or incorrect information, a Level 6 felony.
“A motion was made and seconded to dismiss the case because the Township Trustee had no legal authority to advise the consumer not to sign any documents from the funeral home,” the draft of the minutes said.
The trustee’s office is tasked with paying for arrangements for indigent residents.
Monroe Township Trustee Amie Hood, who did not attend the teleconferenced hearing, said she was disappointed in the decision when she learned of it afterward. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General, which represented Hood and her complaint, had sought disciplinary sanctions and costs.
“I’m not OK with it,” Hood said. “He forged my initials.”
Owens, who has provided mortuary services in Madison County for more than half a century, said he is relieved the complaint against his and his funeral home’s professional licenses has been resolved.
“I’m grateful the funeral board allowed me to explain my position and agreed to dismiss the complaint,” Owens said.
Hood alleged in her Sept. 1 complaint that she had been given a single-page document, which she had signed immediately. However, eight days later, she received a fax from the Northern Indiana Casket & Cremation Corp. with her initials in another person’s handwriting.
According to the complaint, Owens admitted to Hood and a deputy trustee that he had forged the initials and would refund the $1,300 paid by the trustee’s office.