Former Forest Hill Funeral Home owner suffers legal setbacks

A judge's ruling Thursday put more money beloging to Forest Hill Funeral Home policy holders into a trust fund.

Attorneys managing Forest Hill Funeral Home's funds asked a judge to transfer $1.3 million into a trust that was previously frozen by the court.

Former Forest Hill owner Clayton Smart is accused of using several front companies to funnel funds from the funeral home.

To date, no one from the five front companies has come forward to appear in court, but after Thursday's ruling, assets that were once frozen can now be placed in the policy holders' trust fund.

In court Thursday, it was revealed that Smart used money from Forest Hill to purchase the funeral home.

State investigators say Clayton Smart bought Forest Hill Funeral Home willfully intending to launder the company's multi million dollar trust fund.

According to investigators, a Michigan company originally loaned him money to purchase the funeral home.

Once the purchase was complete, investigators said, Smart used trust fund money to pay back the loan.

"It was a shell game and no money that Mr. Smart had of his own, in his own pocket, ever went to the acquisition of Forest Hill," said Attorney James Newsom.

Smart did not appear in court Thursday, but sent a letter to the judge asking him to free up some funds for his defense.

Judge Arnold Goldin said Smart was already in contempt of court for not providing an accurate list of his assets, and denied Smart's request.

Want to comment on this story?  Start a dialog on the Discussion Forums.