EMMETSBURG, Iowa (KCAU) — An Iowa funeral home owner who was accused of taking funeral service funds for personal use was granted a deferred judgment in the District Court for Palo Alto County.
According to court documents, Andrew Joyce, of Emmetsburg, was sentenced on November 10 to two years of probation for first-degree theft related to misusing funds from funeral services.
The documents state that Joyce pleaded guilty on September 30 while asking the court for deferred judgment for ongoing criminal conduct. The court granted the deferred judgment, so the charge was suspended.
Additional charges were dismissed, including selling funeral services without a permit and second-degree theft.
Complaint documents allege that Joyce entered into agreements with customers who prepaid for funeral services, but he did not comply with the agreements. He was required by law to secure the funds so they would be available when the customers needed them.
The documents state that by Joyce using the funds “for his own personal gain and to operate his funeral chapel,” customers lost thousands of dollars intended for funeral services from 2012 to 2019 when he was issued a cease and desist order.
Victims of the alleged theft were given the opportunity to submit a claim to the Iowa Insurance Division for reimbursement. Claims had to be submitted by November 7 with or without supporting documentation.