IN funeral director sentenced in Floyd Co; Charges remain in Clark

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - Disgraced southern Indiana funeral director Richard Pyke had an oddly-timed "thank you" for the community Thursday as he was sentenced to four years for insurance fraud in Floyd County. That's two years in prison and two years probation.

Prosecutors say he cashed in on insurance policies of clients who were not dead.

Right before Judge Susan Orth gave him his sentence, Pyke thanked the judge, his family, his lawyers and the community for allowing him the years he served.

The son of one of Pyke's victims said it wasn't enough.

"Something like this is pretty bad," said Lee Wheeler. "He just couldn't say anything to make me feel any better."

Wheeler's mother, Betty Wheeler, bought a policy in 1999 to make sure her family would have enough for funeral services.

Lee was shocked when in 2010, after reading about what police thought Pyke had done, he called his mother's insurance company, only to be told that the company paid out in 2008, when it believed she died. Betty is still very much alive.

Lee says he hoped for a harsher sentence than the one Pyke got.

"I would like a little more time in jail but at least she's going to be refunded her money that she's out," he said.

Pyke's attorney says he's already served the time Judge Orth gave him.

"Mr. Pyke is relieved to have closure at least with this part of his legal proceedings here in Floyd County," Niles Driskell said. "He's relieved that this part is concluded."

Pyke still faces 63 counts including insurance fraud in Clark County for operations at his funeral home in Henryville. His trial there is expected to start October 11th.

His lawyer says they were still talking about a possible plea in Clark County at the last pre-trial conference.

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