LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio — A man accused of operating an illegal funeral business is in custody at Lucas County Jail in northwest Ohio.
Shawnte Hardin, 41, was arrested in Perrysburg Township in Wood County Wednesday while on his way to turn himself in. The Ohio State Highway Patrol says Hardin was the passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation.
Hardin was charged in a 37-count indictment in Lucas County last week. The charges include:
- Eight counts of abuse of a corpse
- Six counts of representing as a funeral director while unlicensed
- Five counts of failure to file taxes
- Five counts of passing bad checks
- Three counts of tampering with records
- Two counts of telecommunications fraud
- Two counts of identity fraud
- One count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, operating an unlicensed funeral home, failure to refrigerate a human body, possessing criminal tools, theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Hardin has operated several businesses in Lucas, Cuyahoga, Summit and Franklin counties since at least 2019.
The business names included Hussain Funeral Directors, Celebration of Life Memorial Chapels, Hardin Funeral Home, Inc., American Mortuary Services and Transportation, and Shawnte Davon Hardin Services, LLC.
On Sept. 30, two bodies were taken from Hardin’s business in Columbus by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The Ohio Attorney General’s office said Hardin was using the location for makeshift funeral services.
Hardin admitted at the time that two embalmed bodies were taken from his business but has denied they were kept in unsafe conditions.
Hardin told 10TV his business was made to help families by offering lower-cost prices for transporting the body, washing the body and providing make-up.
People who have worked with Hardin have spoken with 10TV about their experiences.
A woman accused Hardin of being a liar and claims her mother's funeral was mishandled. Another woman is encouraging better oversight and stricter penalties for people who transport and handle dead bodies.