Former OC funeral director facing new fraud charges

Submitted Fri, 10/12/2012 - 7:00am by Andy Alm

OIL CITY — New charges are filed against a former funeral home director from Oil City who was already on probation after being convicted of similar crimes several years ago.  49-year-old James Belis Hutchinson, of the now out-of-business Hutchinson Funeral Home, is facing a charge of Misapplication of Entrusted Property for allegedly defrauding an elderly Oil City woman in excess of 7-thousand dollars.  Police say Hutchinson met with the woman to arrange a pre-burial contract, after which she paid him the funds required by the contract.  But Police say Hutchinson never placed the funds in safe holding, as is required by law.

The incident is the latest discovered in a string of these types of crimes committed by Hutchinson from 2005 to 2009.  In 2009, Hutchinson’s funeral license was suspended, but police say he continued to practice for some time.

The Oil City Police Department is asking anyone who believes they may be a victim or have a pre-paid burial contract with Hutchinson to come forward.  Earlier this month, Oil City Police learned from the Pennsylvania Board of Funeral Directors that there are currently no such contracts on file with the state for the Hutchinson Funeral Home.