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October 2, 2013
Russ Heimerich (916) 574-8171

Cemetery And Funeral Bureau Reaches Settlement With One Of The Defendants In Its Lawsuit Over The California Master Trust

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau has reached a settlement with one of the parties named in its litigation over alleged improprieties involving the California Master Trust.

Burnett & Company, LLP, a now-defunct Certified Public Accountant limited partnership, has agreed to pay $75,000 to settle their portion of the lawsuit.

The settlement does not constitute an admission of liability, and in agreeing to the settlement Burnett & Company, LLP does not admit to any wrongdoing or liability.

The lawsuit, Cemetery and Funeral Bureau, Department of Consumer Affairs v. Funeral Directors Service Corporation, et al., stems from the Bureau’s 2010 audit of the California Master Trust, one of California’s largest pre-needs funeral trusts. The audit covered the period from January 1, 2000 through August 31, 2009.

As a result of the audit, the Bureau determined that CMT was not in compliance with several laws and regulations governing the administration of pre-need funeral trust funds, and that at least $6 million should be returned to the trust.

From 2001 through 2005, Burnett & Company, LLP performed the trust’s annual audit reports.

The other defendants in the litigation are not affected by the settlement, and the Bureau is continuing to pursue its litigation against those defendants.