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Lara shuts down Jarzembowski Funeral Home
     The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has summarily suspended the prepaid funeral and cemetery sales registration of Jarzembowski Funeral Home, Inc., and the mortuary science establishment license of Jarzembowski Funeral Home in Detroit, and the individual mortuary science license of owner Thomas F. Jarzembowski. Formal complaints, Orders of Summary Suspension, and Notices and Orders to Cease and Desist were issued by LARA’s bureaus of Professional Licensing, and Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing (CSCL). The funeral home is located at 18957 W. Warren Avenue in Detroit, Michigan.
  These actions resulted from an audit conducted by the CSCL Securities & Audit Division that found records associated with Jarzembowski Funeral Home, Inc.’s prepaid funeral sales contracts revealed multiple violations of the Prepaid Funeral and Cemetery Sales Act (the “Prepaid Act”), MCL 328.211 et seq., and the Occupational Code (the “Occupational Code”), MCL 339.101 et seq., including:
 •Failure to escrow almost $200,000 for prepaid funeral goods or services related to 43 prepaid funeral contracts.
•Failure to deposit monies with an authorized escrow agent within 30 days of receipt.
 Fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in the practice of mortuary science.
  Jarzembowski Funeral Home has 60 days to either assign its existing prepaid contracts to another person registered under the Prepaid Act and notify the Department and contract buyers of the assignment within 30 days of the assignment, or to cancel the contracts and issue refunds to each contract buyer, providing copies of refund checks and correspondence to each contract buyer to the Department within 90 days. CSCL issued an Order to Cease and Desist against Mr. Jarzembowski and the funeral home requiring both to cease and desist from all mortuary science activities, including sales of funeral goods and services, with notification of the right to request a hearing within 30 days. If a person fails to comply with the order, the Department of       Attorney General may apply in circuit court to enforce this order.
       A person who converts funds paid pursuant to a prepaid contract to his or her own use or benefit other than as authorized by the Prepaid Act or who fails to escrow or trust funds according to the Prepaid Act is guilty of a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, for each violation. A person who violates any other provision of the Prepaid Act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than one (1) year, or both, for each violation.
     Members of the public who have questions or concerns regarding the operation of Jarzembowski Funeral Home may contact the Securities & Audit Division within LARA’s Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing bureau at 517-335-5237, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, or by email at LARA-CSCL-Securities-Audit@michigan.gov.

Class Action Lawsuit filed against Taco Bell
PRNewswire/ -- A lawsuit has been filed against a Taco Bell franchisor owning restaurants in six states for multiple violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The collective action complaint, filed on behalf of workers by Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers here in U.S. District Court, names the Brighton-based Sundance, Inc. as defendant.
    Sundance, Inc. operates over 170 Taco Bell restaurants in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Ohio.
     According to the complaint, Sundance doesn't compensate employees of its Taco Bell outlets for all hours worked in a given week nor for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The lawsuit also alleges that salaried general managers and assistant managers were misclassified as exempt employees and not paid for their overtime, even though they didn't have the managerial authority or responsibility to meet exemptions from overtime pay set forth in the FLSA.
     "The defendant regularly shifted the hours worked by its employees in one week over to the following week so that time records wouldn't show when they worked more than 40 hours in a given week," said co-counsel Megan Bonanni of Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers in Royal Oak, Mich.
  Bonanni also noted that the practice of shifting hours and misclassifying workers to avoid paying them full wages is widespread among Taco Bell franchises and throughout the fast food industry.
  "Numerous lawsuits citing similar violations of the FLSA have been filed against Taco Bell franchises throughout the country going back 15 years or more. Wage theft seems to be a standard operating procedure at many Taco Bell outlets," said Bonanni.  
     The complaint alleges that the Sundance-owned Taco Bell restaurants used a variety of tactics to avoid paying employees for time worked, including requiring managers and others to clock out of the company's timekeeping system while continuing to work so that the outlet's total labor hours didn't exceed set quotas.
     "The plaintiffs reported that they and other hourly workers at these Taco Bell outlets were regularly instructed by managers to clock out and continue working. Each restaurant has a labor budget and managers are under a lot of pressure to limit the number of hours paid, no matter how much time employees actually work," said Jennifer MacManus, co-counsel for the plaintiffs of Fagan McManus, also located in Royal Oak, Mich.
     McManus said that many salaried managers of Sundance-owned Taco Bell restaurants worked well over 60 hours per week and often more than 80 hours weekly. As a result, the salaried managers were regularly paid an effective hourly rate that was lower than the crew members they oversaw.
     The lawsuit asks for an award of unpaid overtime and regular wages; damages; interest; a declaratory judgement that the labor practices are unlawful; costs and attorneys' fees.

Dollar General robbers nabbed
By Valerie D. Lockhart
     Dollar General employees and patrons can breathe a sigh relief thanks to the recent conviction of two armed robbers.
     Dwayne Dupree, 30, and Shawn Pearson, 23, both of Detroit, were each convicted of three counts of robbery and three counts of using a weapon to commit a crime of violence.
      “The defendants in this string of violent robberies were brazen in both terrorizing employees and placing the public in danger", said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit Division. "Yesterday’s verdict demonstrates the value of the continuing investigative partnership between the FBI and the Detroit Police Department in our collaborative efforts to reduce violent crime in metropolitan Detroit and to keep our communities safe.”
    Evidence revealed during a week-long trial revealed the first armed robbery took place on December 17, 2014 at the Dollar General store at 13441 E. Seven Mile Road in Detroit.
  Four robbers dressed in hoodies, masks and gloves entered the store and used guns to gain control of the employees and front counter. Some of the store’s money was stolen. Pearson and Dupree were among the robbers.
     Using the same method, two armed men wearing masks entered the same store on January 5, 2015. Shots were fired at the store manager, before the pair made their get-a-way. Dupree served as a lookout in both incidents.
  The pair struck the Dollar General store at 16004 Fenkell on March 19, 2015. Dupree shot a gun into the air, scaring employees and prompting them to speedily hand over the store’s money.
     Then, on March 19, 2015, Pearson and Dupree acted as the armed robbers of the Dollar General store at 16004 Fenkell. On this occasion, the evidence showed that Dupree fired a shot into the air to scare the store employees to move faster in turning over the store’s money.
     An investigation launched by the Detroit One Partnership unraveled the identities of two robbers, using ballistic tests and social media.
     "The Detroit One partnership focuses on criminals like this armed robbery crew, who endanger public safety and create a climate of fear," said U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. "By identifying and prosecuting the individuals and groups driving violence in Detroit, we hope to make the city a safe place to live and work."