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Man charged with running unlicensed funeral business in Ohio

October 15, 2021 GMT

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man accused of running unlicensed funeral operations has been indicted on corpse abuse and other charges weeks after authorities removed two bodies from a Columbus building that prosecutors allege he used for makeshift funeral services.

Shawnte Hardin is charged with 37 counts, mostly felonies. They include representing himself as a funeral director while unlicensed, tampering with records, theft, passing bad checks, identity fraud and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The list also includes a misdemeanor charge alleging a body wasn’t properly refrigerated or embalmed.

The court case records listed no attorney for Hardin as of Friday. He previously denied allegations that he was running an illegal funeral home, saying during an interview with WBNS-TV in Columbus last month that what he offered was lower-cost services for transporting and washing bodies.

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Hardin, 41, was indicted Thursday in Lucas County but also operated businesses in Cuyahoga, Summit and Franklin counties during the past couple years under names such as Hussain Funeral Directors and Celebration of Life Memorial Chapels, according to the Ohio attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case.