***PRESS RELEASE--Cemetery Owner Indicted in Lee County***
Tupelo, MS—Lee County District Attorney Trent Kelly and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced the two-count felony indictment of Wayne Hight of Corinth, Miss.
Hight has been indicted for failing to fund at least 85% of funds received for funeral services and merchandise, as required by State law, and misapplying or converting pre-need funds. Each charge carries up to ten years in prison.
“The Secretary of State’s Office did an excellent job on this investigation,” says Lee County DA Kelly, “and took the time to follow up on the numerous complaints from citizens in Prentiss County about the Oaklawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Booneville, which led to this indictment.”
“We take complaints of a preneed funeral provider misappropriating funds very seriously,” says Secretary Hosemann. “When you trust someone with your most sensitive, final arrangements, you expect the money you paid will be there when you need it.”
Wayne Hight turned himself into Prentiss County authorities and was arraigned on Tuesday, November 13th and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bond was set at $10,000. The Prentiss County Sheriff’s Department assisted with the case and assisted with follow up to the victims.
In addition, this past week the Secretary of State filed a civil action in Prentiss County Chancery Court against Wayne Hight, Nancy Hight, and Brad Hight, asserting a perpetual care deficiency at Forrest Memorial Park in Corinth of $167,760.00, plus a preneed trust deficiency of $305,761.00. The Secretary of State has requested court authority to offer the cemetery for public bid. The Secretary of State's Office has also met with over 1,000 affected individuals and has requested the bidders offer consumer assistance to contract holders.