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Perry County coroner charged with exploitation of elderly, theft

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Herbert Miller
PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- Perry County Coroner Herbert Miller faces felony charges after an investigation by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found he allegedly spent the money of a 94-year-old woman over whom he had power of attorney.

Miller was charged with financial exploitation of the elderly and theft Monday and arrested at his home in Perryville.

Miller was appointed durable power of attorney by the woman in 2004, a probable-cause statement compiled by health and senior services investigator Gregory Martin showed. She entered a local nursing home in 2008 with medically diagnosed dementia and other disabilities. The woman's doctor, according to the statement, said she has not been competent since entering the nursing home.

Miller is accused of two felonies for allegedly writing checks from the woman's account totaling $80,600 to "cash" and to the Perryville funeral home he owns with his wife. The checks were written from August 2011 through June 2013, according to the statement.

Also, the woman has been denied Medicaid benefits and her bill has not being paid at the nursing home because of Miller's actions, according to the statement, which means the woman could be evicted.

Miller reportedly signed an agreement accepting financial responsibility for her care. Miller admitted to writing the checks during the investigation, according to the statement, but claimed they were gifts from the woman.

Miller declined to comment on the charges when reached by the Southeast Missourian at Miller Family Funeral Home on Tuesday afternoon. He has hired an attorney, he said, but declined to provide the attorney's name. An attorney is not yet listed for Miller in the case in online court records.

Miller posted a $25,000 bond and was released from custody Monday, according to a news release from the Perry County Sheriff's Department.

He has served as county coroner since 1995 and was last elected in 2012.

On Tuesday, other county officials said they hadn't yet heard from Miller about any plans to continue in his elected position. Presiding Commissioner Carl Leuckel said he was surprised to hear of the charges. County Clerk Randy Taylor said he assumed Miller will continue as coroner unless he hears otherwise.

Online court records do not yet show a date for Miller to be arraigned on the charges.



Pertinent address:

Perryville, MO

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He's not that first undertaker to rip off elderly with phony burial scams. I hope they burn him big time.

-- Posted by johnlaw484c on Tue, Jan 14, 2014, at 6:10 PM

If this woman had no family members to do this for her, she should have been legally declared incompetent and the county official elected for this purpose should have handled her affairs. He stole her money and then put her life in jeopardy by taking the money and signing her up for State paid Nursing Home Care. This man knew exactly what he was doing because she was incompetent to give him any money. This money is considered as an available to pay for her nursing home care until it is depleted. Then, and only then can she be approved for State paid Nursing Home Care. He probably did not even see to her needs by replenishing her clothes, shoes, etc. while he spent her hard saved money without even giving her a second thought. This constitutes a felony action, and he should be dismissed from his county office and should be in JAIL. It breaks my heart after seeing the people in nursing homes who never get visitors and are so happy when someone gives them a smile or just says hello. It always took me at least 5 extra minutes to get to my mother's room because I gave them all attention. 30 or 40 years before these people were in the prime of their lives and never expected to end up in a nursing home. It was so sad to see the conditions of the people, the little care they received, the rough treatment by personnel, and nurses who didn't have time to evaluate the patients because she was too busy on personal calls even when I stood at the desk waiting for her she'd turn her back. I should have called in an elderly abuse hotline because my mother always had bruises. When I questioned them, they'd say it was because of the blood thinner. One day when I walked in my mother was really bad and needed to go to the hospital. Not one person in that facility had cared enough to even notice. You better bet that nurse noticed when I came unglued. She knew she could get fired had I reported it. Had she stepped in front of me one more time and told me she didn't think I COULD take her for care, I'd have mowed her down and kept on walking. She may have been in the nursing home for her daily care, but I was still in charge of her medical care and there was no way anyone was going to stop me from doing what my mother needed. That nursing home was my first experience and my worst if any are really good. We moved my Mother and all the bruises stopped with no medication changes. She was being abused right under my nose. If the food they feed to nursing home patients was fed to school children, every parent would be there to protest it. The eldery's food intake and nutrition should be strictly monitored to keep them at maximum nutritional levels to sustain life not just throw greens, cold corn bread and beans at them 2 to 3 times a week. I saw very little meat served. When my mother in-law was recently in a nursing home, she got prefab burgers and burnt hotdogs as meat.

I said all this so you who have never experienced a family member in a nursing home would know a little about the care some of them receive. He should be made to pay back every penny and serve his time in jail so he could eat the food which I am sure is much better, and also get very little care, and have all his rights taken away to see first hand what he did to that woman. I learned that people who are self pay and have someone who comes in regularly get better treatment, but really how much worse could it have been for my Mother and maybe this woman.

-- Posted by Kac on Tue, Jan 14, 2014, at 11:45 PM

Hopefully authorities will look for other cases that this man may have abused.

-- Posted by Syzygy on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 5:49 AM

What a slim bag

-- Posted by ssinteriors on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 7:03 AM

Is this the same "undertaker" who was alledgedly caught by the widowed husband of a prominent Perry County business for "misplacing" the deceased wife's diamond wedding ring.....??

-- Posted by skidsteer on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 7:15 AM

Do not judge and you will not be judged. Let the authorities sort things out. We are all in need of God's mercy.

-- Posted by papermoon on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 7:19 AM

Well said Kac...and I will say it again--Thou shall not steal"

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 7:22 AM

I am so sorry you and your mother had this experience Kac. That is shameful. Of course not all NH's are bad places, but it behooves families to visit OFTEN not only for their loved one's sake but to let the staff know things are being monitored.

-- Posted by ssnkemp on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 9:16 AM

For once I have to agree with Greywolf! I'm so sorry Kac! Thank you for enlightening us. God bless you. As far as the Perry County coroner, well he deserves the strictest punishment by law.

-- Posted by Spinning on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 9:23 AM

I don't know why this type of business is so prone to dishonest practices, but across this country it is. I think they form associations who hire lobbyists and that's always a questionable thing when anyone wants to influence politicians who control these things.

I do know of a certain funeral home who refused to give me a loved ones gold tooth which at the time, gold was $1800. an ounce. What does that say about their business practices? What happens to all those gold teeth teeth? I think I know.

This was another state where I was told their law prevented them from removing anything from the body, yet I was asked by them if the body had a pacemaker, or anything else in it.

-- Posted by 1patriot on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 9:38 AM

*just sits back smiling* Karma!

-- Posted by Megalomaniac on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 9:45 AM

I think Standards could be Exposed to problems that Raise Questions score card will be needed

-- Posted by falcon2412 on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 10:34 AM

Did he post the $25,0000 bond from her checking account too?

Total slime ball ... taking advantage of the elderly is utterly PATHETIC!

-- Posted by Broccoli on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 12:02 PM

papermoon: I will not be in charge of his judgement, but I know that what he did was a felony. She was diagnosed as incompetent which means she was legally not able to make money decisions. He was the one who chose to write out the checks to cash and take her money. I am a retired MO Division of Family and Children's Services Caseworkers, so I know what kind of position this man put this woman in. Had his crime not been discovered, she could have been put out of the nursing home because the State of Missouri would not pay for her care since her resources were not spent for her needs. I want him to serve his time and have lots of time to think about what he did and for others who are thinking of doing this, family or not, will realize how wrong this is on so many levels of humanity. I am sure you can tell that this hit a nerve with me. I saw it in other cases and even had to enlighten my brother-in-law when he thought he knew more than I knew about the system that I did for many years. I would like for him to read this article and see that I was telling him the truth.

I know there are better nursing homes, but the person placed in the home has a better chance if they have family who visit regularly at different times and also are able to speak for themselves.

I want to follow this case especially if this woman does not have family to stand up for her. I want to know beforehand all of his court dates, because I would like to be there. Maybe a little recompense for how the system fooled me.

Erin Ragan is it possible that you could notify me of all this man's court dates. I would also like to make a comment. If this kind of extra money showed up in our account, my husband and I would have had a long talk. So I feel like the wife may also be an accomplice after the fact.

-- Posted by Kac on Wed, Jan 15, 2014, at 8:36 PM

Kac: Probably the best and most reliable way to keep tabs on his court dates is through Casenet. If you will go to https://www.courts.mo.gov/casenet/base/w... and do a litigant name search, you can pull up his case. There's a link on the case header page that you can click to get phone or e-mail notification of future hearings. Hope that helps.

-- Posted by epriddy on Fri, Jan 24, 2014, at 11:59 AM

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