Funeral director takes responsibility for false burials.

June 23, 2016

#MasonCountyNews #CourtNews

Thomas Clock III

Thomas Clock III

MUSKEGON — The owner of a Ludington funeral home appeared in a Muskegon County court Thursday, June 23, and took responsibility for burying empty boxes that were supposed to include cremated remains in them, according to a story posted on mlive.com

Thomas Claude Clock III, who owns Clock Funeral Home of Whitehall and Clock Funeral Home of Ludington, on South Washington Avenue, pleaded no contest in 14th Circuit Court to two separate cases of common-law fraud, both felonies.

He also pleaded no contest to an additional count of providing mortuary services without a license, which is a misdemeanor. Clock had continued to work after his license expired in October 2015.

A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt but results in conviction, and judges treat it as a guilty plea at sentencing. It’s allowed when a defendant faces possible civil liability, the reason Clock cited.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 25 and is expected to serve no more than eight months in the Muskegon County Jail. According to mlive.com, Muskegon County Circuit Judge Timothy G. Hicks made no commitments about probation, fines or other conditions.

In April, Clock pleaded guilty to one of two drunk-driving cases against him.

Clock Funeral Home of Ludington.

Clock Funeral Home of Ludington.

Clock’s guilty plea to driving while intoxicated, second offense, was accepted Wednesday, April 13, 2016, by Muskegon County District Judge Andrew Wierengo III.  At that time, Wierengo ordered Clock to have an alcohol assessment done and scheduled sentencing for 1:30 p.m. May 23. He has a prior conviction of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in 2010.

The conviction will be for a Jan. 9, 2016 incident in Whitehall. Following the arrest, a series of events let to the discovery of Clock’s alleged frauds.

After he was jailed on Jan. 9, law enforcement discovered a deceased woman’s body in the back of his van parked at his Whitehall funeral home. Law-enforcement officials have said Clock falsely told the woman’s family they were burying her cremated ashes on Dec. 28, 2015, at Fruitland Township Cemetery. 

The second count of common-law fraud involved Clock claiming he had buried the remains of a deceased infant boy in Fruitland Cemetery when the burial only involved an empty box. That incident occurred on April 2015.

Clock was arrested in the City of Montague on March 11 for another drunk driving charge.

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