Former Cheraw resident and funeral home director Craig Norton returned home this week, “upon request,” said Cheraw Police Chief Jay Brooks, to face breech of trust charges. Norton appeared before Judge J.A. Graves Nov. 5, and was released on a $100,000 bond, Brooks said.
Norton is charged with several counts of breech of trust, said Brooks. The allegations include “cashing life insurance policies and not returning the appropriate amount, after funeral expenses, to the beneficiaries; head stones or urns that where paid for and never received.”
Norton, 51, is a Cheraw native who now lives in Charleston. According to Brooks, Norton will face more charges Nov. 27, from the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs.
Each charge is separate, said Cheraw Police Detective George Halma. “Norton is charged with 10 counts of breech of trust through our department,” he said.
According to Halma, the law categorizes these offenses by the dollar amount of damages incurred by the victims. Norton has two charges with damages less than $2,000; seven charges that fall between $2,000 and $10,000; and one that is more than $10,000, he said.
Brooks said he has been working closely with Ken Middlebrooks of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs on this case for more than a year.
“It’s been heart wrenching to work on this case,” said Brooks. “You hear from little old ladies, and other family members, who were so proud to know these kind of things (funeral plans) had been taken care of ahead of time. It’s difficult to see their pain.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at email@example.com.