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Man accused of operating illegal funeral business in Ohio pleads not guilty to all charges

After entering a non-guilty plea to all 37 counts, Hardin was given bond and put on house arrest, provided that he wear a monitoring device.

LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio — The man accused of operating an illegal funeral business pleaded not guilty to all charges against him on Friday. 

Shawnte Hardin, 41, was charged in a 37-count indictment in Lucas County last week for allegedly claiming to be a funeral director and operating a funeral home while unlicensed, among other crimes.  

After entering a non-guilty plea to all 37 counts in a Lucas County courtroom, Hardin was given bond and put on house arrest, provided that he wear a monitoring device. Additionally, Hardin has been ordered to not accept money from families or engage in funeral-related activities, which includes the transportation of bodies. 

Hardin was arrested on Wednesday in Wood County by Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers while reportedly on his way to turn himself in. Dashcam video captured from that day shows the moments leading up to and during his arrest. 

In the video, Hardin can be heard telling the trooper he was on his way to court for an arraignment. He was taken into custody when the trooper learned there was a warrant for his arrest. 

Court documents show Hardin has operated several businesses in Lucas, Cuyahoga, Summit and Franklin Counties since at least 2019.  

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.

His pre-trial is set for November.