South Bay : Assemblyman Offers 4 Bills to Safeguard Grave Sites

Assemblyman Willard H. Murray Jr. (D-Paramount) has introduced four bills that would make it more difficult for cemetery owners to steal cemetery funds and resell grave sites.

Murray introduced the bills after scandals involving some Southeast and South Bay cemeteries where trust funds allegedly were embezzled and in some cases burial plots sold multiple times and the original remains dug up and piled out of sight.

Next, Murray said, he will investigate practices at crematories.

Murray spoke Tuesday about his plans at a press conference at Lincoln Memorial Park in Carson, a cemetery taken over by the state in August after $430,000 was discovered missing from its trust fund and grave markers were found piled in corners.

One of Murray's bills would prohibit cemetery owners and operators from accessing the principal on their cemetery trust funds. Other bills would require cemetery owners to provide an annual inventory of burial plots in the park, and increase licensing and regulatory fees so the state could audit California's 193 cemeteries, 140 crematories and 150 brokers.

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