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Helena-West Helena funeral home license suspended for six months

Helena-West Helena, AR -- A funeral home in Helena-West Helena is facing disciplinary action for the second time in less than a year.

In an order dated August 18, 2017, the Arkansas State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors suspended the license of Wilson's Funeral home.

The suspension is effective September 1st and will last for six months. The board also revoked the owner's apprentice license.

They said Cedric Wilson, who has an apprentice certificate, was "holding himself out to the public as a practicing funeral director....without being the holder of a license."

When the board issued the August discipline, the funeral home was still on a year long probation from November of 2016.

In that case, they found Wilson solicited business during a time in which his apprentice license had lapsed.

In the latest case, investigators say they found 12 funeral contracts where Wilson falsified the funeral director's signature.

The probe was prompted after a woman filed a complaint regarding her mother's funeral.

According to the board documents, Wilson didn't provide a proper written estimate for the funeral, nor a General Price List (required by federal law).

The board also found that on the same day the customer called about making arrangements, Wilson submitted claim forms to the family's insurance company, yet the customer said she never even signed them.

WREG visited Wilson's Funeral Home Monday. The door was locked.

At one point, NewsChannel 3 spotted a man driving a hearse. The unidentified man said they were still open. He also got the owner, Cedric Wilson, on the phone.

When asked about the disciplinary action over speaker phone Wilson said, "Well, I really don’t have no comment on that."

He later added, "I can assure the families that they will still be taken care of regardless."

WREG also spoke to a former Wilson's customer. Her complaint pre-dated the current issues.

Arquilla Grant said she paid Wilson more than $2,000 for a head stone for her son that she never received.

"I went to him to get a headstone for my son. I gave him the money up front and everything. And okay, within six weeks I was supposed to have a headstone for my son."

Grant said time passed, but she never got the head stone.

"He kept giving me the runaround, runaround, kept making excuses and everything", said Grant.

Grant sued Wilson and filed a complaint with the state. She later withdrew the complaint after finally getting her money back. She eventually paid another company for a head stone.

"He didn’t pay me my money his mother did, but I had to call here, there and yonder to get somebody to listen to what I’m saying."

Grant said she paid Wilson up front because she knew him when he worked for another funeral home.

"When he got his own funeral home like I said, I trusted him. I really did, young man coming up, I’m trying to give him a chance. But I told him if I knew then, what I know now, you wouldn’t have never gotten my business!"

When WREG asked Grant what she thought about the suspension she said, "Really I am glad it happened to him, maybe this will teach him a lesson."

Wilson has 30 days to appeal the order.