Cemetery owner to plead guilty to fraud

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A cemetery owner has agreed to plead guilty to raiding millions of dollars set aside to maintain the graves of people who paid in advance for their funerals.

Prosecutors and Robert E. Nelms' attorney filed a signed plea agreement Wednesday in Marion Superior Court under which Nelms agrees to plead guilty to theft and securities fraud.

If a judge accepts the plea, the 40-year-old Nelms would get an 8-year sentence to community corrections programs and two years on probation.

He also would repay potentially millions of dollars to trust accounts of Memory Gardens Management Corp., which is under the control of a court-appointed receiver.

Prosecutors say Nelms and his estranged wife drained as much as $27 million from the trusts of Memory Gardens Management Corp. after buying it in December 2004.

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