Funeral Home Founder Indicted For Misappropriation

AUSTIN (August 3, 2013)—James Bertram “Bert” Vandiver, founder of Waco’s Grace Gardens Funeral Home and owner of Gatesville Funeral Home, was named in indictments in Austin charging him with misappropriation of funds, forgery and theft.

The Travis County Grand Jury returned a nine-count indictment saying Vandiver misappropriated almost $200,000 from customers who bought pre-need funeral plans when he failed to secure insurance policies on those pre-need plans.

Vandiver, 54, first turned himself into Travis County authorities on July 3 and was released from custody in the Travis County Jail after he posted a $75,000 bond.

Online grand jury records show the indictments involved 23 victims who are older then 65, which makes those cases first degree felonies because of the age of the victims.

The Associated Press reported Vandiver’s Austin lawyer says Vandiver is not guilty of any crime but only sloppy paperwork.

Vandiver sold Grace Gardens last May to a Texas funeral home group.

The Higginbotham Funeral Home group also owns Pecan Grove and Oak Crest funeral homes in Waco.

Though the charges stem from events that happened in both McLennan and Coryell counties, the Travis County Grand Jury has jurisdiction statewide in matters involving banking and insurance fraud.

The Travis County District Attorney’s office says there is no trial date set in the case.


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