Secretary of State Takes Action to Uphold Law and Order in the Cemetery and Pre-needs Industries

January 31st, 2020

(Atlanta) -- Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is taking action to uphold law and order in the cemetery and pre-needs industries. Raffensperger is restructuring his department to provide more investigative authority for and establish stronger oversight of the cemetery and pre-needs industries in Georgia.

“No Georgians should fall victim to unscrupulous businesses and law-breaking scam artists,” said Raffensperger. “As Secretary of State, I will stay vigilant and help ensure that Georgians are protected from bad actors, especially when it comes to taking care of their loved ones. Those hurting Georgia’s most vulnerable should take this as a message to get their houses in order.”

“I’m thankful Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger immediately identified the issue and is working to decisively solve the problem,” said State Rep. Rick Williams.

“The steps Secretary Raffensperger is taking will provide greater avenues for oversight and investigation of the cemetery and pre-needs industries,” said Noula Zaharis, Director of the Securities and Charities Division. “Thanks to Raffensperger’s leadership, the Secretary of State’s office will be able to better protect Georgia consumers.”

Raffensperger is restructuring the oversight process for cemeteries and pre-needs companies within the office of the Secretary of State. Oversight and investigation of these industries will be moved from the Professional Licensing Boards Division to the Securities and Charities Division, a division with a clear oversight mission and significant investigative capabilities. Using internal resources, Raffensperger will reassign an attorney, an examiner, and an analyst to work within the Securities and Charities Division. This team will help ensure Georgians are protected and will have a strong mandate for investigation and examination.

Consistent with his fiscally conservative approach to government, Raffensperger is making these important changes at no added cost to taxpayers. The organizational changes will be budget neutral.

Raffensperger ordered the changes following a review of the structure for cemeteries and pre-needs services providers. Since he took office one year ago, Raffensperger sought to determine how his office could best serve this function for the people of Georgia. He met with stakeholders in the community, industry, and throughout the government, including the Board of Cemeterians, to develop the best path forward. Under Raffensperger’s leadership, the Secretary of State’s office conducted a systematic review of how best to serve the people of Georgia and is taking action.

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