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Good news for some customers of shut-down St. Petersburg funeral home

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Our Better Call Behnken investigation into a St. Petersburg funeral home director, accused of running off with prepaid funeral money, has left customers panicked.

But now there’s some good news for some of those customers who bought policies that were insurance-backed instead of backed through a state trust fund.

Glenn Jones, CEO of Ensure Financial Group, LLC, says his company worked with Zion Hill from 2004 to 2017 and sold prepaid arrangements through insurance policies to hundreds of Zion customers.

Jones says every one of those customers’ money is safe, and he is working to contact them to tell them this:

“One, your funding with the insurance company is safe,” Jones said he is telling customers. “We will meet with you to reassign you to a different funeral home or allow your family to be the beneficiary.”

Some of Zion Hill’s customers, however, aren’t so lucky.

Zion Hill’s owner Dwayne E. Matt had his license revoked recently by the state, amid allegations of mishandling money. When that happened, 90-year-old Victoria Hawkins discovered her money was not safe.

Hawkins had purchased a policy that was supposed to be backed by a state trust fund. However, she discovered Matt had failed to pay a portion of her $13,000 into the trust fund, as required by law.

Hawkins turned to Better Call Behnken for help, and the state is investigating. At this point, they are unsure whether she will still be able to collect some money through the trust fund.

Meanwhile, Jones wants anyone who purchased a prepaid funeral policy to check their paperwork and find out what kind of policy they have.

If your paperwork lists Ensure Financial Group, you can contact Jones at 863-225-5650.

In all cases, if a consumer needs assistance in trying to figure out who can best help them, they can contact the Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services for help at 1-800-323-2627.

The division then works with the appropriate law enforcement agencies when fraud is suspected.

Consumers wishing to file a claim against the CPTF should complete the CPTF claim form and submit it to the Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services. That form is located here.

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Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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