Owners of mortuary
must repay $36,694

The Big Island family sold
pre-need funeral plans without
a license, the state says

Associated Press

HILO, Hawaii >> The owners of a Big Island mortuary have been ordered to repay $36,694 for funeral plans they sold without a license.

Acting Circuit Judge Terence Yoshioka issued a default judgment yesterday against Memorial Mortuary, saying it failed to respond to civil complaint filed by the state in October.

The owners of the mortuary -- Robert and Momi Diego and their daughter Bobbi Jean Diego -- still face trial for first-degree theft and 38 counts of second-degree theft. Their criminal trial is scheduled to start Oct. 6.

The Diegos are accused of failing to deposit some $119,000 in payments from pre-need service plans into a proper trust fund.

Robert Diego said in February 2002 that the mortuary was licensed for pre-need sales.

However, Candace Ito, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' executive officer of the cemetery program, said in a sworn statement that she searched state records and found the mortuary was never licensed to sell pre-need plans.

The Diegos were arrested in March 2002 by state investigators looking into allegations of bodies being buried in bags instead of caskets purchased by relatives.

Charges were never filed in connection with the allegations.

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