WAYNE COUNTY, Ind. — An unpaid grounds maintenance bill led to charges against a Wayne County cemetery board president who’s accused of stealing over $150,000 from the cemetery.

Trisha C. Taylor, age 43, was charged with felony theft. Her husband, Dustin L. Taylor, is also facing a charge of theft.

Court documents detail the investigation into the cemetery’s finances, which began in September of 2022 after a board member for the Lutheran Cemetery Foundation in Pershing, Indiana contacted state police.

The board member said he was told by the funeral home director that the maintenance company responsible for tending the grounds of the cemetery had not been paid since the previous year, and the cemetery owed over $8,000. He learned that when the company tried to collect the money, the president of the cemetery board, Taylor, informed them the cemetery foundation did not have enough money to pay the bill.

Court documents state that the board member was concerned by this because when the board last went over finances in 2014, the cemetery foundation had about $278,000 in its bank accounts. The board member added that there had not been a board meeting in over three years, and Taylor would not answer or return his phone calls.

When an investigator with Indiana State Police met with Taylor, she denied taking any money from the cemetery for personal use, per court documents. Taylor claimed that she would sometimes write herself or her husband checks from the cemetery’s accounts, cash them and give the money to contractors who wanted to be paid with cash.

Taylor also told the investigator that there was only $200 left in the cemetery’s accounts.

The investigator asked Taylor if she had any of the cemetery’s financial records, to which she responded she did not. Taylor claimed the wife of the pastor of the Lutheran church beside the cemetery had the financial records, court documents state. However, when the investigator reached out to the pastor, the pastor told him that his wife did not have the records, the church and cemetery are completely separate, and he had never heard of Taylor.

To obtain the financial records, the investigator filed subpoenas. Court documents state that the records showed between 2015 — the year after Taylor became board president — and 2022, checks were deposited into the personal accounts of Taylor and her husband, who was the board’s superintendent and treasurer. The checks totaled over $150,000 and were used to pay regular personal bills. Taylor also used the cemetery checking account to pay for personal items, such as maintenance to personal vehicles, according to court documents.

The investigator submitted his findings to the county prosecutor in March, and Taylor was charged.