Utah regulators have fined a South Salt Lake mortuary $10,000 and required sweeping changes to its business practices after recent allegations of misconduct — including mixing ashes, stealing jewelry from the deceased and leaving bodies unrefrigerated for days.
The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) finalized the order and stipulation document Monday. While it requires Carver Mortuary to pay a $10,000 fine, the order says the amount owed will increase to $50,000 if the mortuary fails to meet any terms described in the order.
Carver Mortuary was effectively shut down earlier this month after an emergency state order suspended its license and the licenses of two of its directors, Shane Westmoreland and Tanner Carver.
Two former employees had alleged in a closed-door emergency hearing that mortuary workers had mixed ashes and cremated bodies without identification, left bodies unrefrigerated and stole jewelry. The two witnesses claimed many employees, including themselves, were not licensed for the work they were conducting. Both also alleged the facility was unsanitary.
Further investigation by DOPL investigators confirmed some of the allegations, including severe deficiencies with tracking remains and cremations.
The new order says the mortuary will be placed on state probation for five years. For now, it will be operated by another Carver family member, Tyler Carver, who is licensed with the state, though that arrangement could change if the Utah Board of Funeral Service deems it necessary at its next meeting, the documents said.
The order did not specify the status of the funeral director licenses held by Westmoreland and Tanner Carver. But it said neither man would be eligible for the leadership role during the probation period.
The mortuary also must fund an “operation supervisor” — an outside funeral service director who will oversee business operations and report back to the state on its progress.
The business must submit to regulators a “practice plan” that describes how it will overhaul its policies. It is to include new hiring protocols, an improved digital cremation tracking system and password locks so only licensed employees can access the embalming room and cremation chamber.
The mortuary also must submit a “victim redress plan.” It must review its records and identify where bodies may have been misidentified or commingled with other remains, or where personal property wasn’t returned to the person’s family. Then, mortuary officials must notify those families of the discrepancies.
A DOPL spokeswoman, Jennifer Bolton, declined to comment, saying the department would “let the terms of the document speak for itself.”
An attorney for the mortuary, Matt Lewis, said he could not comment under the terms of the order.
Carver Mortuary officials on Nov. 3 filed a request for a hearing to contest the emergency order that shut down the mortuary; that hearing remains booked for Friday. However, it appears it will be canceled — the DOPL order states the mortuary waives the right to such a hearing by signing the document.