HANCOCK CO. — A Greenfield monument company must pay back its former customers thousands of dollars, a Hancock County judge has ruled.
Following an August report from WRTV Investigates about Greenfield Granite’s business practices, numerous customers filed small claims lawsuits against the company.
Greenfield Granite is accused of taking money from grieving families and not finishing the headstones.
This month, Judge Cody Coombs has awarded the following judgments against Greenfield Granite and in favor of the following customer:
- Tammy Collins- $846
- Charles Bowen- $1,264
- Robert Johnson- $1,296
- Danny Derrick- $2,354
At least five other small claims lawsuits against the company are still pending and are scheduled for trial in December and January.
The small claims lawsuits are in addition to a lawsuit filed by the Indiana Attorney General’s office on behalf of more than a dozen consumers who said they paid Greenfield Granite for monuments they didn’t receive.
Greenfield Granite’s owner Amie Strohl died by suicide in September amid the Greenfield Police Department’s criminal investigation into Amie and her business practices.
Prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges following a more than three-month criminal investigation into a Greenfield monument company.
WRTV Investigates raised questions about Greenfield Granite’s business practices back in August when customer after a customer said they paid for headstones but never received them.
The decision not to prosecute is not sitting well with consumers like Mary Collins, who paid $1,859 for her husband’s bench memorial and never received the bench or a refund.
"That really disturbs me, because I would think a company is still responsible,” said Collins.
Mary Collins had to pay another company to finish her husband Norman’s bench.
“It makes me sick that they can do this and get away with it,” said Collins. “To think of all the people who suffered because of this.”
Hancock County prosecutor Brent Eaton announced they will not be filing criminal charges against anyone, saying their suspect is deceased.
Greenfield Police Detective Nichole Gilbert said she’s talked with more than 100 potential victims who’ve spent a total of $130,000 on headstones, many of whom have never received them.
"We did have a pretty strong case with Amie; however, with her death, we had to change gears on that,” said Gilbert. "I feel for these people, and I understand they wanted criminal charges . I worked with the prosecutor's office to make sure we weren't missing something that could be charged, but also knowing the law and what could be proven, and the evidence we would need— I know personally it's not there."
Following Amie Strohl’s death, the Indiana Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit alleging Greenfield Granite violated the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.
The Attorney General’s office is working on getting customers refunds and getting finished or partially finished headstones back to families.
But the case is even more complicated now because Amie Strohl’s husband, James Strohl, filed for bankruptcy on October 20.
James Strohl lists his partial ownership of Greenfield Granite in the filing and also says he did manual labor while his wife handled all office work.
“After she committed suicide as a result of the business problems, he became aware of the financial issues with the business and the undelivered work,” read James Strohl’s bankruptcy filing. “The police have her suicide notes indicating that the Debtor had no knowledge of the problems with the business. He has not seen the notes but was made aware of the notes.”
WRTV Investigates asked the Indiana Attorney General’s office affects their case, and a spokesperson told us, “the Hancock County lawsuit is still proceeding at this point.”
Amie Strohl’s mother, Cynthia Heck, is listed as Greenfield Granite’s registered agent in the Attorney General’s lawsuit against Greenfield Granite.
Records show Heck sold the Greenfield Granite building, 952 W Main Street, for $120,000 on September 2—a week before Amie Strohl’s death.
“Where’s the money?” said Collins.
Detective Gilbert said she’s reviewed financial records, but can’t disclose her findings to WRTV because the information is now part of the state’s case against Greenfield Granite.
WRTV has been unable to reach Strohl or Heck for comment via email.
No one answered at Greenfield Granite, and it appears the company has not been operating for several weeks now.
No attorney is listed in court documents.