Fraud case against Anniston funeral director dismissed
by Rachael Griffin
rgriffin@annistonstar.com
Jan 04, 2013 | 7468 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A fraud case against Anniston Funeral Services director Rev. Jeffrey Williams was dismissed Thursday.

Judge Debra Jones granted the motion to dismiss the case against Williams. Williams was indicted by a grand jury in June 2011 on allegations of attempted theft of property and possession of a forged instrument with the intent to defraud.

It was alleged Williams committed fraud against Frances Curry, the mother of Kevin Thompson — a Wellborn Elementary School teacher who was the victim of a homicide in April 2011 — in the amount of nearly $1,500 in insurance money.

Jones said the dismissal was granted upon the prosecution’s request after consulting with Curry.

Curry said Thursday she wanted the case to be dismissed on account of the upcoming trial on the death of her son. Three suspects have been indicted, plus two more on related charges. She said she’ll be meeting with the district attorney this month and the trial should begin this spring.

“I don’t want anything to take away my focus from my child,” Curry said.

Raymond Johnson Jr., Williams’ attorney, said he also filed a motion with the court to have the case dismissed and was waiting for it to be heard. He said he believes the DA and Judge Jones did the right thing by dismissing this case.

“All along Reverend Williams has maintained his innocence in this case … the more we dug the more we realized he was innocent,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Williams “didn’t do anything wrong to (Curry), but he still grieves for her because of the pain she has gone through in losing her son.”

Except to say he is “very satisfied with the decision of the DA and Judge Jones to dismiss the case,” Williams declined to comment beyond what was in a press release made available by his attorney.

Curry told The Star in a previous story that Williams said the funeral was going to cost $15,000. Later Curry said she found out Williams had changed the price on documents totaling the funeral at $18,015 and had submitted a $19,500 claim to the American General Life Insurance Company, where Curry had a policy on Thompson.

During a court hearing in July 2011, the prosecution showed documents containing Curry’s signature for the price change. The prosecution said those signatures were forged or signed while the documents were still blank.

The defense said a specialized headstone and burial location were the reason for the price change and maintained Curry knew what she was paying for and grief had clouded her judgment.

Judge Jones said the dismissal had been previously talked about during pre-trial discussion.

“It was not a shock to me. I knew they were working on a resolution to the case,” Jones said.

Jones said the dismissal was granted upon the prosecution’s request after consulting with Curry.

Of Williams, Curry said Thursday, “There’s no victory for him … We are all grieving parents that have lost their children and he’s taking advantage,” Curry said.

Staff Writer Rachael Griffin: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RGriffin_Star.
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