Charges dismissed against Hot Sulphur mortuary owner
Sky-Hi Daily News
Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado
Prosecutors have filed a motion to dismiss all charges against Darin Foran, owner of Foran-Schoenfeld Mortuary in Hot Sulphur Springs.
Foran was charged in January with 11 felony and four misdemeanor charges alleging violations that he had illegally appropriated a total of more than $42,000 in cash.
On June 25, after several hearings had been postponed in the case, the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to dismiss all the charges.
Two boxes on the motion form filed with the District Court in Hot Sulphur Springs were checked. They say:
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• “Complete restitution has been made by defendant”
• “The interests of justice would best be served by the dismissal as herein requested”
Foran referred inquiries on Tuesday to his attorney.
“I think it’s vindication,” said Michael Meyrick, Foran’s attorney, during a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon. “I think if the prosecution could have proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt, they would have gone to trial.”
Foran was charged with 11 counts of theft – at risk victim-$500 or more (a Class 3 felony), and four counts of theft of $500 or less, a class 2 misdemeanor, according to court documents.
The felony charges alleged that Foran withdrew between $1,000 and $8,500 from “pre-need” bank accounts opened in the name of individuals to save money for future funeral expenses.
The misdemeanor charges were the result of allegations that Foran billed clients for transportation of bodies to the mortuary when, according to the police, Grand County Coroner Brenda Bock said she had transported the bodies.
Meyrick said that when Foran purchased the funeral home (in November 2006), the pre-need accounts were included among the “assets” in the sale and that Foran performed all the requirements related to those accounts even though he had not originated them.
As it turns out, Foran also lacked the licensing needed to administer the accounts, so he turned over all the money from them to the DA’s office for redistribution to the “victims,” Meyrick said.
“Darin – he didn’t steal any money … He never stole anything from anyone. If he had, I’m sure he would have been prosecuted,” Meyrick said.
Thus, he said, Foran did not pay “restitution” in the traditional sense; he merely turned the accounts over to the DA.
“There were no damages; nobody lost anything.”
Meyrick commended the DA’s office, “because they were willing to take a second look at this.”
The DA’s motion seeks dismissal of the charges without prejudice, which means the case could resume if circumstances warrant.
“The inclusion of the term ‘without prejudice’ in a judgment of dismissal ordinarily indicates the absence of a decision on the merits and leaves the parties free to litigate the matter in a subsequent action, as though the dismissed action had not been started,” according to a legal dictionary.
“That’s not something I’m concerned with,” Meyrick said, adding that he doesn’t expect any issues to arise that would result in the case being resurrected.
Foran-Schoenfeld Mortuary is the only funeral home in Grand County.
– Drew can be reached at (970) 887-3334 ext. 19610 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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