SOUTH SALT LAKE — Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against the owner of an embattled mortuary accused of allowing unlicensed employees to embalm and cremate remains.
Tanner Jay Carver, 34, of Spanish Fork, and Shane Adam Westmoreland, 41, of Mapleton, are each charged in 3rd District Court with seven counts of unlawful and unprofessional conduct and 10 counts of unlawful preparing of a dead body for disposition without a license. All are class A misdemeanors.
Carver is the principal owner of Carver Mortuary, 847 W. 2500 South, and Westmoreland is the manager, according to court records.
In addition, Michael Deacon Jones, 39, of Salt Lake City, was charged Wednesday with removal of items from human remains; and 20 counts of unlawful preparing of a dead body for disposition without a license, all class A misdemeanors.
Beau Hintze, 37, of Eagle Mountain, was charged with three counts of unlawful and unprofessional conduct, a class A misdemeanor.
Hintze, whose professional license expired in 2015, "performed 17 embalming and sew-ups" between October 2016 and November 2017, according to charging documents.
Jones, whose professional license expired in 2013, "performed over 300 embalming procedures and cremations" during the same time period, the charges state.
Jones is also accused of selling scrap gold — including "dental gold" — to a local precious metals refinery for $1,000, according to the court documents. The investigator in the case noted in the charges that the metal "looks like intact crowns that have been removed from a person's mouth."
Among the other allegations in the charging documents:
• A former employee told investigators that "unidentified bodies were disposed of without proper licensing, death certificates or permits."
• At least four employees said they were asked by either Westmoreland or Jones to conduct cremations, even though they were hired for such jobs as transporting bodies and cleaning the office and were not licensed to do cremations. One of those employees estimated he ended up doing more than 200 cremations.
• Another employee who was hired to do body transports said "he was taught on his first day" on the job how to do cremations."
In November, the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing announced an agreement with Carver Mortuary in which the mortuary neither admitted nor denied the allegations against it, but acknowledged the division had evidence to support its findings, according to an order filed in the division's review.
Carver Mortuary's license was placed on probation for five years under the deal, and it agreed to pay $10,000 of a $50,000 fine, according to the order.Comment on this story
At the time of the order, Carver Mortuary did not dispute allegations that it had permitted unlicensed employees to embalm and cremate remains; placed infant remains in cremation receptacles meant for adults; failed to clean out cremation receptacles, allowing cremations to be commingled or discarded; and overfilled a refrigerator at the mortuary, allowing unembalmed bodies to remain outside a refrigerator for more than a day.
Carver, however, denied allegations that employees had pocketed jewelry and sold gold and precious metals for profits, stating at the time, "That did not happen."