Funeral director arrested as more concerned people come forward about Northside mortuary at center of investigation

The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) said more people are coming forward about Marion Graham Mortuaries in north Jacksonville, concerned they received the wrong cremated remains, and are looking to get their money back for pre-paid funeral services.

Investigators had been searching for the funeral director, Elliott Maurice Graham, for days. He is accused of stealing, giving families the wrong ashes, and abandoning a mortuary with bodies inside. On Friday, Graham, 49, was arrested in Orange County. He now faces charges including grand theft and improper preservation of a body.

The mortuary is now considered a crime scene. Investigators were seen Friday entering the mortuary wearing surgical gloves.

So who is Marion Graham? And who is Maurice Graham, the current funeral director here who is now wanted by the law?

According to an obituary, Marion Graham died in 2018. Then, his son, Elliott Maurice Graham took over the business.

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In bankruptcy filings from 2010, Maurice Graham reported he was the funeral director at a location of Marion Graham Mortuaries on A. Philip Randolph Blvd, where he had been employed for 10 years.

Taslesa Ware said her father prepaid for his funeral in 2012, which happened 10 years later after the business had changed hands.

“We came over here to the funeral home, they did not have any of the paperwork,” Ware said.

She said charges were tacked on — that’s among the allegations police are looking into.

Because pre-need funeral contracts are considered a form of insurance, funeral services are regulated by the Florida Department of Financial Services.

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An online search shows no records of a funeral director license for Maurice Graham.

Ware said Marion Graham had been a well-respected member of the community, but it appears things went downhill after his son took over.

She believes the funeral home mishandled his body.

“My godsister will not allow me to see the pictures. So, she was able to go in and actually see my father once they claimed they had him ready. And she come back and she just broke down in tears. And she said no, you can’t see him like that,” Ware said.

DFS officials said unless they contact you directly, there is no reason to believe that you do not have the cremated remains of your loved one.

People who had those types of prepaid funerals with Marion Graham Mortuaries and believe they were double-charged are encouraged to file a claim through the Pre-need Funeral Contract Consumer Protection Trust Fund (CPTF) to see if they are eligible for compensation.

For more information on the CPTF and how to file a claim, please visit this website.

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