Booking photo for Lonnie Nyman (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A 47-year-old former funeral home owner has pleaded guilty to stealing money from customers in a deal that could spare him any more prison time. Lonnie K. Nyman illegally sold pre-paid funeral trust accounts and used the money for his own purchases.

Nyman participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Monday afternoon, appearing by web conference from the Utah State Prison. He accepted a plea agreement, pleading guilty to a pattern of unlawful activity, unlawful dealing with property by fiduciary, and communications fraud, all second-degree felonies.

Utah State Attorney Ryan Holtan told the court Nyman sold contracts for pre-need funeral plans to at least 105 victims. Instead of placing the funds in trust accounts as required by law, the money was deposited into two bank accounts used for operating expenses. The funds were then used for personal expenses at fast food restaurants, sporting goods stores, as well as payments toward personal credit card balances.

Defense attorney Cara Tangaro explained that as part of the plea agreement, attorneys for both sides will ask the court to run the sentences with Nyman’s existing prison sentence, meaning he may not serve any additional time. He would have to pay his share of $527,278 in restitution to the victims and be placed on probation for 48 months.

Holtan added that if Nyman violated his probation or failed to make monthly restitution payments, he could again face 15 years in prison.

Nyman spoke only briefly during the hearing, telling the court he was willing to waive his rights to a fair trial and plead guilty to the charges. He is currently in prison, serving two consecutive terms of 1-to-15-years, after being convicted of trying to have sex with a teenage boy and other crimes.

Judge Angela Fonnesbeck accepted Nyman’s plea deal and scheduled sentencing for Nov. 30. She gave no indication as to whether or not she will go along with attorney’s sentencing recommendations.

Holtan said the state is still attempting to contact all of the victims. They will be invited to address the at sentencing, if they choose.

Multiple victims have contacted KVNU, expressing frustration with the plea deal. One family shared their anger that Nyman may not serve any additional time for the crimes he had confessed to. They also cast doubt on whether they will every be paid back the money their mother had invested in a funeral plan.

Nyman’s father, Kent Nyman is a co-defendant in the case. The 74-year-old Providence man was a co-owner of the business and is also facing similar charges.

Kent Nyman also appeared for a brief status hearing Wednesday afternoon in 1st District Court. His defense attorney said they were continuing to work out a possible plea agreement and asked to appear again in court Nov. 30.

Source link

Leave a Reply