COLUMBUS — Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor announced today that Patricia Wills, former owner of the House of Wills Funeral Home in Cleveland, was sentenced on July 9 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to one year of probation for insurance fraud, theft and forgery and ordered to pay $12,290.66 in restitution.
An investigation by the Ohio Department of Insurance, based on a referral from the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, found Wills, also a former licensed insurance agent, submitted a pre-need life insurance claim in November 2012 on behalf of a client who was alive at the time. Believing the person was deceased, the insurance company paid $12,290.66 to Wills, who misappropriated the money for personal use. Pre-need life insurance is intended to pay the expenses associated with a policyholder’s funeral and burial.
“Ohioans who purchase pre-need funeral services should not have to worry whether the money will be there when their loved ones need it most,” said Taylor, also Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “Fortunately, with assistance from one of our state partners, the Department’s investigative team helped ensure this individual was brought to justice.”
Wills did not renew her insurance agent license when it became inactive in April 2013.
Ohioans who suspect insurance fraud or professional misconduct should call the Department’s fraud hotline at 800-686-1527. Insurance fraud information is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov.