After an Indiana State Police investigation, a local woman has been formally charged with theft of more than $50,000 from a cemetery board.
Trisha Collins Taylor, 43, of the 200 block of East Delaware Street in Cambridge City, is accused of stealing from the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in East Germantown.
The charge is a Level 5 felony.
Wayne Superior Court 2 Judge Greg Horn found probable cause on March 30 for Taylor to be arrested. Bail was set at $15,000, with 10 percent cash authorized. A $1,500 bond was entered April 3 in the clerk’s office.
Neighbors and loved ones of those buried in the cemetery began asking questions last summer after realizing the cemetery hadn’t been mowed for a while.
Western Wayne News was told that group learned from the mowing crew that it hadn’t been paid for a long time.
After more investigating, the concerned citizens learned the cemetery’s nonprofit association no longer existed because required business entity filings had not been submitted in 2020 to the Indiana secretary of state’s office.
The secretary of state’s website showed that The Lutheran Cemetery Foundation of Pershing, Indiana, a nonprofit corporation, was created on Aug. 11, 1970, but was dissolved by the state and went inactive as of Feb. 5, 2021.
According to the cemetery foundation’s 2018 filing, Trisha Collins Taylor of Cambridge City was listed as president and Dustin Taylor was listed as secretary. The 2018 filing showed both Taylors lived at the same address.
After those discoveries, those interested in the future of the cemetery began hosting meetings last fall to reorganize while Indiana State investigated the foundation’s finances.
A new board is now overseeing cemetery bookkeeping, and volunteers successfully applied for its tax-exempt status to be reinstated earlier this year.
Read more on the investigation in the April 12 edition of Western Wayne News.