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Judge in Mississippi finds cemetery owner in civil contempt

MERIDIAN (AP) — A judge has held a cemetery owner in civil contempt after Mississippi’s secretary of state says the entrepreneur failed to comply with injunction requirements.

The Meridian Star reports Secretary Delbert Hosemann asked Lauderdale County Chancery Court Judge Jerry Mason to incarcerate William “Bill” Arlinghaus Jr. for failing to report weekly collections at two neglected cemeteries. Mason found Arlinghaus in contempt on Tuesday, saying jail time would prevent Arlinghaus from fulfilling his obligations.

Mississippi first took legal action against Arlinghaus in June 2016 after families complained about overgrown grass, graves in need of attention, and footstones they paid for yet never received at Meridian Memorial Park Cemetery.

The state was granted its request for injunction against Arlinghaus in August after its investigation found $33,000 missing in perpetual need trust funds.