LARA seeks to revoke license of Perry Funeral Home due to multiple violations

Posted at 11:06 AM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-16 12:20:04-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is seeking to revoke the mortuary science licenses of Perry Funeral Home in Detroit and its manager Gary Deak due to multiple violations.

Violations include storing remains in a disrespectful and improper manner, possessing remains without authorization and filing false death certificates.

In October, the funeral home's licenses were suspended after regulators found violations resulting in a threat to public safety.

“Our investigation found numerous acts of gross negligence, incompetence, fraud and deceit in the practice of mortuary science,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “We will continue to enforce state laws to protect our residents from bad actors who deceive the public and also tarnish the funeral home industry as a whole.”

Additional violations include:

  • Of the 63 infant and fetal remains found on their premises that day, possessing 54 of those remains without having express authorization to do so by a relative of the deceased or a person entitled to custody.
  • 39 of the remains arrived at the funeral home more than 180 days and seven of the remains arrived at the facility more than 60 days before the October 19, 2018 inspection, in violation of the Michigan Penal Code.
  • Representing on 42 death certificates that it filed with the Dept. of Health and Human Services that the body was buried at Knollwood Cemetery in Canton, or stored at Gethsemane Cemetery in Detroit, when Perry knew that the bodies were all stored in cardboard boxes or a freezer in the basement of its facility in Detroit.
  • Failing to certify and file death certificates for the dead bodies of the fetuses and infants for whom they assumed custody with the appropriate governmental authority within 72 hours of death. Death certificates were not filed for over a year, and in some cases over three years.
  • Storing the bodies of deceased infant and fetal remains in a disrespectful and callous manner in the basement of its facility.
  • Using a casket that had previously been used in connection with the burial or other disposition of a dead human body.
  • Obtaining State Emergency Relief (SER) benefits for the purpose of supervising the final disposition of at least three deceased infants and fetuses and failing to achieve their final disposition.
  • Making a charge for services in connection with the disposal of deceased infant or fetal remains that it received from a hospital where the hospital did not comply state law by first inquiring as to the desires of the person with authority over the disposal of the remains under the Estates and Protected Individual’s Code.
  • A lack of good moral character.
  • Gross negligence and incompetence in the practice of mortuary science.
  • Practicing fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in the practice of mortuary science.

Spokesperson for Perry Funeral Home Tom Shields released this statement in response to LARA decision:

“We received the complaint and are reviewing the allegations against Perry Funeral Home. We are confident that our response to the allegations will establish that Perry complied with all applicable laws to the very best of their abilities and that a full analysis of those allegations will show that any issues or problems lie within the system to receive authorization to bury and/or cremate unclaimed bodies, and are not attributable to Perry. On the contrary, Perry Funeral Home acted at all times to provide respectful services and show dignity to the remains of those unclaimed individuals that came into their care.”