Order No. 2012-025

In The Matter Of:
Jeffrey W. Gentry dba Gentry Fife Funeral Home
Junction, Texas

Before The Banking Commissioner of Texas
Austin, Travis County, Texas

Order To Cease and Desist Activity and Seize Prepaid Funeral Money and Records

On this day, the matter of Jeffrey Gentry dba Gentry Fife Funeral Home (Gentry) located in Junction, Texas, was submitted to the Banking Commissioner of the State of Texas (Commissioner), for consideration and action.

I.  Findings of Fact

Gentry is subject to two Commissioner’s orders.

  1. Gentry did business as Gentry Fife Funeral Home in Junction, Texas.

  2. Gentry held prepaid funeral benefits permit number 485 to sell trust-funded prepaid funeral benefit contracts (PFCs) issued by the Texas Department of Banking (Department) pursuant to Texas Finance Code § 154.103. Such permits are issued for a one year period. Texas Finance Code § 154.104.

  3. On March 1, 2010, the Commissioner issued Order No. 2010-011, Emergency Order Cancelling Permit, To Cease and Desist Activity, and to Seize Funds and Records (the First Order). The First Order was issued because the Department had evidence that Gentry had entered into a PFC and had not deposited the money in trust as required by law and that Gentry had been indicted for felony theft in regard to another funeral.

  4. The Department seized Gentry’s contracts and funds and discovered several other PFCs that were not properly funded.

  5. On May 12, 2010, the Commissioner issued Order No. 2010-029, Agreed Order and Amendment of Commissioner’s Order No. 2010-11 (the Second Order). The Second Order resolved an administrative action the Department had brought against Gentry in regard to the PFCs that he did not produce for examination and for which he had failed to deposit the funds into the trust account. Gentry agreed to pay full restitution and a penalty, which he did. He agreed that he would maintain his permit for so long as the remaining trust-funded PFCs he had stayed active. He was prohibited, however from entering into new PFCs until May 12, 2013, assuming he was allowed to obtain a new permit at that time.

Gentry no longer has a permit.

  1. Gentry’s permit expired on June 1, 2012, and he does not now hold a permit.

  2. Gentry still has eight trust-funded PFCs that have not been discharged.

  3. As stated above in paragraph 5, the Second Order required Gentry to maintain his permit so long as the trust-funded contracts remained active.

  4. Pursuant to Texas Finance Code § 154.052(b), Gentry is required to submit an annual report until all contracts are fully discharged.

  5. Pursuant to Texas Finance Code § 154.107, a seller who has outstanding contracts is required to renew his permit until the contracts are fully discharged.

  6. On June 4, 2012, the Department gave Gentry notice of these failures and demanded that he submit his renewal and annual report form by July 5, 2012.

  7. Gentry failed to submit his renewal and annual report form as demanded.

  8. The records that relate to the sale of prepaid funeral contracts are located at Gentry Fife Funeral Home, 1519 Main Street Junction, Texas 76849.

  9. The prepaid funeral funds that Gentry received are located in Account No. ------- at Junction National Bank, 701 Main Street, Junction, Texas 76849. As of March 31, 2012, the funds in that account totaled $47,907.83.

Gentry did not produce records for examination.

  1. The Department conducted an on-site full examination of the permit holder on May 16, 2012.

  2. The examiner spoke with John Cashman, the designated agent on Permit 485, who has been operating the funeral home in Gentry’s absence.

  3. The examiner reached Gentry by phone. Gentry stated he was out of state and was no longer involved with the funeral home or administration of the prepaid funeral permit. Gentry said his attorney would contact the Department. His attorney has not contacted the Department.

  4. On information and belief, Gentry now resides in Colorado and owns a funeral home located at 729 37 3/10 Road, Palisade, Colorado 81526.

  5. The examiner discovered that the permit holder had done no administration of the permit since the previous Departmental examination dated March 31, 2011. The prepaid funeral records were found stacked in a closed office.

  6. Mr. Cashman stated that he had processed one death maturity withdrawal from the trust account since the previous examination.

  7. Gentry never provided the records required by Finance Code § 154.053 and 7 Texas Administrative Code § 25.11.

  8. Gentry has violated the requirement of Finance Code § 154.053 that he allow his permit activities to be examined by the Department.

  9. Gentry has violated the requirement of 7 Texas Administrative Code § 25.11 that he produce for examination the records he is required to keep by that section.

  10. Gentry has violated other recordkeeping requirements of 7 Texas Administrative Code § 25.11, including maintenance of control ledger (reconciled quarterly), individual ledgers, and death maturity file documentation.

  11. Gentry violated Finance Code § 154.161 by failing to prepare a complete preneed to at-need reconciliation for the matured prepaid funeral contract.

  12. Gentry violated Finance Code §§ 154.301(b) and 154.302 by failing to review the individual ledgers to see if the money paid under a prepaid funeral contract for a nursing home called Leisure Lodge could qualify as abandoned property. Gentry had been instructed at the previous examination to research this issue.

II.  Conclusions

  1. The Commissioner is authorized by Texas Finance Code § 154.408 to issue a cease and desist order to a person if the Commissioner finds by examination or other credible evidence that the person has violated a law of this state relating to the sale of prepaid funeral benefits, including a violation of Chapter 154, a final order of the Commissioner, or a rule of the Finance Commission.

  2. The Commissioner is authorized by Texas Finance Code §154.412 to issue an order seizing prepaid funeral funds and records of a person if the Commissioner finds by examination or other credible evidence that certain events have occurred, including that the person does not hold a permit.

  3. The Commissioner has found by examination and other credible evidence that Gentry has violated Commissioner’s Order No. 2010-029, Texas Finance Code §§ 154.052, 154.053, and 154.107 and 7 Texas Administrative Code § 25.11.

  4. Gentry was given notice of these violations and an opportunity to correct them and has failed to correct them.

  5. The credible evidence of the above-described violations of an order of the Commissioner, the Texas Finance Code, and the Department’s rules is sufficient cause for:

    1. issuance of a cease and desist order to Gentry under Texas Finance Code
      § 154.408; and

    2. issuance of an order seizing Gentry’s prepaid funeral money, including earnings, and records relating to the sale of the prepaid funeral contracts under Texas Finance Code § 154.412.

III.  Order

In accordance with Texas Finance Code § 154.408, Jeff Gentry dba Gentry Fife Funeral Home is ORDERED to cease and desist from engaging in the sale of any prepaid funeral benefits contracts or maintaining any previously sold prepaid funeral benefits contracts.

In accordance with Texas Finance Code § 154.412, it is hereby further ORDERED that all funds located in Account No. --------- at Junction National Bank, 701 Main Street, Junction, Texas 76849 are hereby seized.

In accordance with Texas Finance Code § 154.412, it is hereby further ORDERED that all records related to outstanding prepaid funeral contracts are hereby seized.

IV.  Effective Date

Pursuant to Texas Finance Code §§ 154.408(b) and (d) and 154.412(c) and (d), the Order to Cease and Desist Activities and to Seize Prepaid Funeral Money and Records will take effect on August 31, 2012, unless on or before August 30, 2012, Gentry requests a hearing pursuant to Texas Finance Code § 154.408(d) or § 154.412(d).

V.  Service

This Order is served on Jeffrey W. Gentry, by first-class mail and by certified mail, return receipt requested, sent on August 15, 2012 to:

Gentry Fife Funeral Home, 1519 Main Street, Junction, Texas 76849, and
Palisade Funeral Home, 729 37 3/10 Road, Palisade, Colorado 81526.

Signed on this 14th day of August, 2012.

/s/ Charles G. Cooper            
Charles G. Cooper
Banking Commissioner of Texas