A Northwest DC funeral home is in hot water after authorities accused it of not having proper licensing.
DC Police and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner gathered at the Austin Royster Funeral Home, at the corner of 5th and Kennedy Streets Northwest, Monday morning.
A spokesperson for the Office of Attorney General [OAG] Karl Racine told WUSA9 that the officers were at the building to collect evidence for an ongoing investigation.
It was later revealed Monday evening that Racine had filed a consumer lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order against Austin Royster Funeral Home. You can read the lawsuit here.
Racine claims two owners operated the funeral home without the proper licenses and charged families for services the funeral home did not provide. Racine further warned that people should not do business with Austin Royster.
“Grieving families shouldn’t have to worry about whether they are being taken advantage of while mourning the loss of their loved ones,” said Attorney General Racine in a statement. “We are deeply concerned that Austin Royster may have engaged in multiple unlawful practices while providing funeral services.”
You can read the motion for the temporary restraining order here.
According to the OAG, Austin Royster’s lack of proper licensing made it hard for families to receive death certificates. Death certificates can help provide families access to their deceased loved ones’ bank accounts and insurance policies.
OAG’s lawsuit also claims the funeral home accepted an insurance payment of $53,000 for services that only cost $5,767 and that the funeral home did not return the remaining 47,243 to its clients.
Racine’s office said the remains of any deceased individuals that were in the funeral home are now in the possession of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. If you have questions about your loved one, you can call (202) 698-9000 to get more information.
WUSA9 attempted to reach out to the owners of Austin Royster Funeral Home, but wasn't able to get a response.
If you believe that you may have been a victim of the funeral home’s practices, Racine’s office asks that you contact its Consumer Protection Hotline at (202) 442-9828 or send an email here.