Owners of a mortuary who are already facing abuse-of-a-corpse charges have been indicted on charges of failing to provide funeral services for several families last year.
A Tarrant County grand jury indicted Dondre Johnson, 40, and his 35-year-old wife, Rachel Hardy-Johnson, each on a charge of theft of $1,500 to $20,000.
The Arlington couple are accused of accepting payments and several bodies but failing to deliver promised services at the Johnson Family Mortuary in Fort Worth.
If convicted, they face a maximum of two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
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In June, their landlord called police to report finding bodies in the building after he ordered the owners to vacate for not paying rent.
Officials have said that all but one of the eight bodies — six adults and two stillborn infants — showed signs of advanced decomposition. None of the bodies had signs of trauma or foul play, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office, which had to identify the remains.
The couple surrendered to local law enforcement in July and have been charged with seven counts each of abuse of a corpse, a Class A misdemeanor that carries a punishment of a year in jail.
They were released after posting bail of $10,500 each. They are accused of treating in “an offensive manner” the remains of seven of eight bodies found June 15 in the mortuary at 1051 S. Handley Drive in Fort Worth.
Rachel Hardy-Johnson has also been accused of lying about her eligibility for food stamps and other federal benefits.
She was indicted in September by a federal grand jury and faces one count of food stamp fraud, two counts of theft of federal public money and one count of theft of educational funds, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.
According to the indictment, Hardy-Johnson failed to disclose her household composition and ownership of two businesses that generated income as she was getting benefits from multiple government programs, the release said.
From April 8, 2010, to July 31, 2012, she received food stamp benefits valued at more than $5,000 and Medicaid benefits valued at more than $1,000, the release said.
From June 28, 2010, to May 22, 2013, Hardy-Johnson received funds, assets and property provided or insured under the federal Pell Grant Program and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program valued at more than $200, the release said.
She also received housing subsidies between Nov. 2, 2010, and Dec. 14, 2011, valued at more than $1,000, the release said. Hardy-Johnson could be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and fined $250,000 if convicted of food stamp fraud, the release said.
The counts of theft of federal public money and theft of education carry maximum sentences of 10 years and five years, respectively.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763