Last updated Nov. 12, 2012: Two updates are to be found at the end of this post.
I just became aware of this incident this morning while checking new stories via ConnectingDirectors. Before I continue, for those of you that are unaware of what Funeral Divas Inc. is, Funeral Divas’ purpose, according to the Funeral Divas website, “is to encourage and uplift every woman in the funeral service industry and provide comfort to grieving families[.]” Funeral Divas, Inc. describes itself as “not your traditional woman’s group.” Funeral Divas, Inc. was founded by Muneerah Warner, who has been reported to be a licensed funeral director. Although, I am now hearing accusations to the contrary. I also wrote an entry previously introducing Muneerah Warner and a reality show that she was pitching back in January of 2012.
Funeral Divas and Fraud
As of November this past weekend, Muneerah Warner is now the subject of fraud charges that arose during a continuing education conference in Chicago that took place from Nov. 7 through Nov 10.
According to a ConnectingDirectors’ article as of November 11th, the founder of Funeral Divas, Muneerah Warner, was arrested during a continuing education conference on charges of credit card fraud. It was also reported that the Funeral Divas Facebook page and twitter account were unreachable.
As of today, Connecting Directors has published some screen grabs, which are currently no longer available, concerning the developing scandal that were previously released by the Funeral Diva’s Facebook page and Twitter accounts before the were deactivated. Additionally, ConnectingDirectors received and published recently resigned Funeral Divas board member Monica Vernette Gray’s response concerning the entire incident. This personal recap from ex-board member can be found here on ConnectingDirectors.
As far as I can tell given what little information is currently available, Muneerah is said to have fabricated a story claiming she was the victim of theft and was thereby unable to cover charges for conference rooms, speaker fees, etc. (According to Gray’s response, Warner’s bank claimed there was no evidence supporting her claim to be victim of theft.) Muneerah is said to then have asked at least one of her fellow board members to give their credit card to the hotel and, unbeknownst to this board member, authorized the hotel to charge the fees to the card. This eventually lead to the hotel filing charges against Warner and advising those involved to call their banks and have charges reversed, etc.
The questions still lingering are what actually happened here? Was this just a misunderstanding? What happened to the money that had been raised by Funeral Divas, Inc. to sponsor this event? How will the cancellation of this weekend be handled given that it affected at least 40 some individuals who were seeking to complete their continuing education requirements? And perhaps more importantly, just how extensive is this situation of fraud with respect to Funeral Divas, Inc.?
As more information surfaces, I will be either updating this post or writing a new entry.
ConnectingDirectors received an official e-mail on behalf of Funeral Divas, which they just published. Among other things, it included the following snippet to clear-up rumors that have been going around since that weekend: “First of all, the conference was not a scam. All courses were approved by the funeral boards of Illinois and Indiana. The founder was detained and released on her own recognizance. She was not charged with a crime. Funeral Divas, Inc. has not lost any money and there was no check fraud or any kind of fraud.”
Even though there are still many questions left unanswered, it appears that just a few moments ago ConnectingDirectors published Mrs. Warner’s response to their question concerning the whereabouts of the money paid by attendees and sponsors. Mrs. Warner said, “The money was not due until the day after the conference. The detainment happened on Wednesday the money was due on Friday. The question should be why wasn’t I given a chance to pay.”
In addition to this information, ConnectingDirectors also reported that two Funeral Divas, Inc. board members have resigned: Samantha Vang and Monica Gray.