Former funeral director pleads guilty to stealing over half a million dollars from clients – Cache Valley Daily

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 clients in a deal that could save him additional jail time. Lonnie K. Nyman illegally sold prepaid funeral trust accounts and used the money for his own purchases.

Nyman participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court on Monday afternoon, appearing via web conference from Utah State Prison. He agreed to a plea deal, pleading guilty to a pattern of illegal activity, illegal use of property by a trustee, and communication fraud, all second degree felonies.

Utah State Attorney Ryan Holtan told the court that Nyman sold contracts for pre-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 on personal credit card balances.

Defense attorney Cara Tangaro explained that as part of the plea deal, lawyers for both sides will ask the court to enforce the sentences with Nyman’s existing prison term, which means he won’t will not be able to serve any additional sentence. He is expected to pay his share of $ 527,278 in victim restitution and be placed on probation for 48 months.

Holtan added that if Nyman violates his probation or fails to pay monthly restitution, he could again face 15 years in prison.

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

Judge Angela Fonnesbeck accepted Nyman’s plea deal and sentencing slated for November 30. She gave no indication as to whether or not she would follow the lawyer’s sentencing recommendations.

Holtan said the state is still trying to contact all victims. They will be invited to address the sentencing occasion, if they wish.

Several victims contacted KVNU, expressing frustration with the plea deal. One family shared their anger that Nyman was not serving additional time for the crimes he confessed. They also wonder if they will all be reimbursed for the money their mother had invested in a funeral plan.

Nyman’s father, Kent Nyman is a co-accused in the case. The Providence man, 74, was a part-owner of the business and also faces similar charges.

Kent Nyman also appeared for a brief status hearing on Wednesday afternoon in 1st District Court. His lawyer said they were continuing their search for a possible plea deal and requested to appear in court again on November 30.

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