LAURINBURG — A Laurinburg funeral home has encountered some trouble with the state and is operating under disciplinary sanctions.
Lawrence Jackson III, owner of Lawrence Jackson Funeral Home agreed to a consent order on April 12 that sets out conditions under which he and the funeral home can conduct business.
A copy of the consent order was obtained by The Exchange through a public records request.
Jackson had already signed a consent order placing him on a two-year’ probation from Feb. 11, 2015 to Feb. 11, 2017 that restricted the home’s ability to sell pre-need policies and contracts, according to the current consent order signed by Jackson and state Funeral Board President Matt Staton.
Pre-need plans can be insurance policies or trust accounts that are designed to cover the cost of burial and funeral expenses.
At the end of that probation, another investigation was conducted in March 2017 that focused on Jackson’s pre-need contracts and again found Lawrence Jackson III and Jackson Mutual Burial Association to be in violation.
“In the examination inspector Cagle found numerous violations of laws governing the practice of pre-need planning by Respondent Funeral Home,” the Consent order states.
A show cause hearing was held and a second consent order was agreed to in August 2017. In the second consent order Jackson Funeral Home was to be placed on probation for five years, pass a re-audit within six months of the signing date, and the home was not allowed to violate any of the board’s statues pertaining to funeral homes during that period.
The order also directed that Jackson “Dissolve Jackson Mutual Burial Association no later than June 1, 2018.”
According to the contract, a follow-up inspection was conducted at the funeral home on March 8. During the inspection, auditors asked to see the funeral home’s records pertaining to pre-need contracts.
“Respondents informed inspectors Lisenbee and Stoessner that the pre-need files were not available. Thereafter, respondent [Lawrence] Jackson left the establishment and was non-responsive to the inspector’s attempts to contact him for the remainder of the day,” the consent order states.
The inspectors were not able to access or examine any records pertaining to pre-need arrangements.
The inspection also found the home to be in violation of the following Funeral Board statutes:
— Failure to display permits
— Non-compliant flooring
— Failure to maintain sanitary conditions
— Failure to maintain proper identification tags,
— No price cards on merchandise
— No general price list,
— No “compliant” pricing list for caskets and vaults,
— Failure to maintain proper documents for cremation services
— Use of a misleading name.
“When funeral homes work with a licensed cremator, there is paperwork that needs to be maintained. That is something that Lawrence Jackson Funeral Home will comply with going forward,” said Catherine Lee, general counsel for the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service.
According to Lee, Lawrence Jackson Funeral Home was still presenting itself as Jackson Funeral Home. A business that was established by Jackson’s father in 1963. Records show that the funeral home’s name changed at least as early as September 2017.
Jackson was also failed to pay yearly assessed fees to the Funeral Service Board in 2017.
On April 4, Jackson presented documents to the board to show that the funeral home was taking steps to come into compliance. As a result, the board decided to suspend Lawrence Jackson III and Lawrence Jackson Funeral Home and Chapel’s license to practice for three years but issued a stay as long as Jackson follows the guidelines the board set forth.
Jackson was required to admit to the violations for which he was cited. He must stay in compliance with regulations and respond in a timely manner to communications from the Board of Funeral Services and pay a total of $2,500 in fines.
The board also revoked Jackson Mutual Burial Association’s license to sell pre-need plans. Jackson was ordered to transfer the records, assets, and agreements for “members’ benefits” to Reich-Hayes-Boren Mutual Burial Association within 30 days of the consent order.
If Jackson fails to comply with any of the conditions, the board can request another show cause hearing and take “whatever action it feels is necessary and appropriate,” Lee said.
She did not elaborate on what actions the board might take.
The Exchange reached out to the North Carolina Department of Insurance to ask whether Jackson was being investigated for insurance fraud.
Public Information Officer Barry Smith declined to comment on whether Jackson was under investigation.
Jackson referred requests for comment to his lawyer Robert Crawford of Raleigh. Crawford did not return calls made to his office.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169