INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service today ordered an emergency suspension of Clark-O’Neal Funeral Home’s mortuary license. The South Bend business owes more than a quarter of a million dollars in unpaid taxes and has been operating without a Registered Retail Merchant Certificate for more than a year and a half.
The Attorney General’s Office filed a petition with the Board prior to the hearing today seeking to immediately suspend Clark-O’Neal’s license, alleging the company has committed several criminal acts surrounding tax evasion and has demonstrated a record of disregarding state laws.
“By failing to pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars in taxes and by continuing to ignore lawful requirements, this licenseholder has shown contempt for state authority,” said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “My office as the state’s lawyer is compelled to bring this matter before the licensing board to protect and defend the community and lawful taxpayers.”
The State of Indiana obtained a temporary restraining order in court against Clark-O’Neal on Tuesday, requiring the business to cease operations temporarily pending a hearing scheduled for Dec. 12 to determine whether a permanent restraining order is warranted. The administrative licensing action before the licensing board is separate from Tuesday’s court order.
Records show that from December 2002 through January 2014, Clark-O’Neal has failed to pay corporate income taxes, withholding taxes and sales taxes to the State of Indiana in the amount of $258,329.25. The Department of Revenue (DOR) has issued 188 tax warrants against the company for that time frame yet the company failed to remit the taxes due.
Additionally, businesses in Indiana are required to hold a Registered Retail Merchant Certificate or RRMC. Clark-O’Neal’s certificate expired on April 2, 2013, and has not been renewed, but the company has continued to operate despite repeated warnings from the DOR.
The DOR is seeking the court action to require the company to close until the unpaid tax is addressed – possibly through a repayment plan – and then to ensure the company is paying properly upon reopening. Similarly, the licensing action aims to add an additional legal barrier to stop the company from conducting business until and unless its tax issues are resolved.
Clark-O’Neal’s license will be suspended for 90 days while the Attorney General’s Office completes a formal licensing complaint. Once a complaint is filed, the board sitting as jury and judge of the licensing complaint has the authority to determine what, if any, further disciplinary action will be taken.
Tuesday’s temporary restraining order required Clark-O’Neal to complete any client business that already had been scheduled, including any showings, memorial services and burials, but to not take on any new client business until the unpaid tax is resolved.
Customers who have any questions or complaints about services not yet rendered are asked to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling toll free 1-800-382-5516 or logging onto www.IndianaConsumer.com.