Abanks Mortuary

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Abanks Mortuary, March 2011

Abanks Mortuary & Crematory is located at 808 5th Avenue North. It was founded in 1994 and is owned by Jed Nagel.

Beginning in 2003 the business began paying Demosthenes Lalisan and Richard Alan Hicks, the director and associate director of the Alabama Organ Center, a percentage of revenues earned by providing transportation and facilities for tissue recovery from deceased payments. The mortuary constructed a separate tissue recovery room in 2009 to separate those procedures from its embalming practice. That year employee overheard a conversation about fabricating extra charges for those services to enrich the participants. He was subsequently assaulted and threatened with being "cremated alive" if he reported the conversations. He quit and did file a criminal report with federal authorities.

Lalisan and Hicks pleaded guilty to federal charges of theft by deception and served prison time. Nagel was charged separately with fraud in Jefferson County Circuit Court, but was acquitted at trial. The whistleblower filed a civil lawsuit against Nagel, who was found responsible for the fraud and ordered to pay nearly $15 million in damages to the former employee and to the government.