October 17, 2006
Potosi, Mo. — The former director of the Spencer Funeral Homes in Salem and Bunker pleaded guilty on Monday (Oct. 16) to 14 charges related to state tax fraud. Jane Spencer Turner (DOB - 11/18/55) entered guilty pleas to each of seven charges of failure to file state sales tax returns and seven charges of failing to remit state sales tax.
The office of Attorney General Jay Nixon prosecuted the case, which was heard in Washington County on a change of venue from Dent County. Nixon credited the help of the Salem Police Department in executing a search warrant on the Spencer Funeral Home to obtain 18 boxes of evidence in the case.
Circuit Judge Kenneth W. Pratte sentenced Turner to four years on each count, with the terms to run concurrent. The sentence in the tax fraud charges also will run concurrent to the eight years in prison that Turner received after pleading guilty in July to seven counts of unlawful merchandising practices. Those charges, also prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office, alleged Turner misused more than $46,000 paid by clients for pre-need funeral expenses.
Nixon filed the charges of unlawful merchandising practices against Turner in August 2005 as part of “Operation Grave Concerns,” a crackdown on fraud in the bereavement industry. The crackdown included criminal charges and civil lawsuits around the state.