HARRISBURG, Pa., May 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania State Board of Funeral Directors has revoked the license and levied the maximum $100,000 civil penalty against funeral director Blair Anthony Hawkins and his establishment, Hawkins Funeral Services, located in the city of Philadelphia.
At its May 12 meeting, the Board revoked the license and imposed a penalty of $90,000 against Hawkins due to violations of the Funeral Director Law in providing funeral services to three deceased individuals. The Board also levied a $10,000 penalty against Hawkins Funeral Services Inc., which Hawkins owned and operated, for operating as an unlicensed funeral establishment.
"Unethical practitioners are on notice that the Department of State will impose the strongest sanctions available under the law," said Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés. "We will not tolerate behavior that preys on fellow Pennsylvanians in need of immediate and trustworthy professional services."
The Board found that Hawkins engaged in gross incompetency, negligence or misconduct in carrying on the funeral directing profession and that his conduct constituted gross immorality.
The disciplinary action was initiated after a Department of State inspection of the unlicensed Hawkins Funeral Services located at 5300 Vine St., Philadelphia. Inspectors found the remains of three deceased individuals, two of whom were in a state of decomposition with bags of trash placed atop and around them.
Among the violations of the Funeral Director law, the Board found that Hawkins breached his professional responsibilities by demonstrating disrespect toward the remains of deceased individuals, by failing to promptly dispose of a deceased individual entrusted to his care, by retaining funds for funeral goods and services in excess of the value of goods and services provided, and by operating a funeral establishment without a license.
Revocation of Hawkins' license and the $100,000 in civil penalties against Hawkins and Hawkins Funeral Services was the maximum sanction that the Board of Funeral Directors could impose on Hawkins and Hawkins Funeral Services.
In the final adjudication and order imposing the discipline, the Board noted that "rather than treating the deceased with the dignity and respect to which they were entitled … Hawkins treated the deceased no differently than the bags of garbage stacked atop and around them."
The Bureau's 29 boards and commissions license and oversee nearly 1 million active professionals and businesses, including a range of occupations in health and business fields.
A comprehensive list of sanctions imposed by the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs is available online.
The Bureau also maintains a searchable database which allows the public to check the license status of all the professionals and establishments it licenses.
Anyone who suspects unlicensed activity by an individual or facility, or who has been a victim of unethical treatment, can file a complaint either online or through the Bureau's hotline at
MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren, (717) 783-1621
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of State