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Undertaker Used Customer’s Credit Card for Porn

Lafayette, Indiana- Criminal charges have been filed against a Hippensteel Funeral Home director suspected of using a customer’s credit card to access pornography Web sites.

Michael J. Moehring, 31, of Lafayette was charged Friday in Tippecanoe Superior Court 5 with two counts of felony fraud and felony identity deception.

Detective Jeff Rooze of the Lafayette Police Department said a customer had paid for a relative’s funeral services in early January using a credit card. About two weeks later, the family found four suspicious charges on their monthly credit card statement.

“They weren’t big purchases — $30, $40. But they questioned it and took the initiative to investigate,” Rooze said. “In this case, look what it resulted in.”

He said the family was able to track the Internet protocol address to a computer at Hippensteel. Rooze got a subpoena to further narrow it down to a computer that Moehring used.

Hippensteel officials said that Moehring, a licensed funeral director who had worked there since 2003, was immediately terminated upon news of the charges.

Rooze said that Moehring is suspected of using the credit card number on two separate days to pay membership fees to four adult porn sites.

Moehring also is accused of using a portion of the dead man’s name to create an e-mail address that he used as correspondence for the Web sites, Rooze said.

He said both Hippensteel and Moehring have been cooperative in the investigation.

“They are devastated by this,” Rooze said of Hippensteel employees.

Police believe it was an isolated incident and do not suspect that there are other victims.

Still, Rooze encourages everyone to carefully check their credit card statements and contact the card issuer and police if there are any suspicious charges.

If convicted of the most serious charge, fraud as a Class D felony, Moehring could be sentenced to up to three years in prison for each count.

Moehring, who was arrested Friday afternoon, after posting a $5,000 bond.

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