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Funeral home closes, where is the prepaid funeral money?

Posted: 4:40 PM, Oct 05, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-06 14:28:49Z
It's been two years since Rude Family Northwest Mortuary in Phoenix closed.
 
And owner Steve Rude admitted using the money from prepaid funeral trusts for other purposes.
 
It affects dozens of people who thought they had done the right thing by paying for funerals in advance.
 
The money totals more than $100,000.
 
And it was supposed to be kept in prepaid trusts until needed.
 
Two years ago, Rude told me he had declining health issues and used the money to put back into his now closed business.
 
He also says he would pay back people who prepaid.
 
Since then, we found he has taken care of several funeral costs as they happened.
 
Of those people we could contact, we found Steve Rude paid back more than $14,000.
 
But we also found he owes more than $28,000 to people who say they still haven't received a refund.
 
Rudy Thomas is Executive Director of the Arizona Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.
 
Thomas said the case was turned over the Arizona Attorney General's office.
 
But so far, Steve Rude has not been charged.
 
The Attorney General's office would not comment.
 
I talked with Steve Rude recently. 
 
He says he has taken care of every funeral he's known about.
 
And he vows to pay everyone what they are owed.
 
Thomas says that's not enough.
 
He said "We fear in the funeral community that you can commit fraud if you pay it back, OK."
 
 
 
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