Funeral director opening new business in trouble with state

Funeral director opening new business in trouble with state »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Cindy Figueroa is opening a new funeral home in Yakima. She already has a location in Kent. But that operation comes with a history. Figueroa was investigated by the state and slapped with a $31,000 fine.

"I can honestly say every single instance in which these things that you talked about they all have a legitimate reason why things happened the way they did," said Cindy Figueroa.

Officials found that she failed to provide pricing information. Went after victims she found online through news stories...offering free services. Even put cremated remains in containers not intended for that purpose.

While Figueroa insists she did nothing wrong, the State Funeral and Cemetery Board said she did. They list examples of charging families for services not in the general price list. Then wrongfully billing the Department of Labor and Industries Crime Victim Compensation Program for services not rendered.

Figueroa says these incidents were all unique cases that could be explained. But she didn't explain them to the board because she missed her hearing.

"In this case I'm 100% confident that once we get a hearing, that the charges will be dropped and there will be no fine," said Figueroa.

She gets to keep her license, but is on probation for the next 3 years.
Figueroa can still open her new location in Yakima, as long as she sticks to the board's rules.

But Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins is wary about Figueroa's business.

"Personally, I don't think she should be in business,” said Hawkins. "I represent all the people in Yakima County and I want them to be protected from anybody who tries to take advantage of a situation with someone who has just passed away."

Figueroa says that is not her intention. She plans to appeal to the board about her charges.
Figueroa's funeral home, Washington Funeral & A El Cielo will open for business on Monday.