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State revokes Alford’s funeral license due to naked picture scheme involving dead bodies

The decision comes nearly 2.5 years after RNM uncovered the nude picture scheme

Vernado Malone and Donald Alford Sr.
From left to right: Vernado Malone, Donald Alford Sr.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has learned the Indiana Funeral Licensing Board has permanently revoked the funeral license for Donald Alford, the owner of Alford’s Mortuary in South Bend. The decision comes due to a REAL News Michiana investigation in coordination with a private investigator that uncovered a non-profit partner of Alford’s was taking and sharing nude pictures of dead bodies at the facility.

Alford admitted to the nude pictures being taken at the facility during the board hearing on Thursday. He then told the board he planned to sell the business when he was informed his license was being revoked.


All of this stems from an RNM investigation along with Tim Corbett of Corbett Investigations regarding the scheme in which a local activist, who partnered with the funeral home to allegedly assist the families of homicide victims with funeral arrangements, was given unsupervised access to the deceased to take hundreds of full-body pictures of nude corpses.

In March of 2021, RNM published a story outlining how Vernado Malone, a convicted felon and the owner and founder of the Justice for Michiana non-profit, was taking the full-body nude pictures at Alford’s Mortuary and then showing them to random members of the public. RNM has interviewed dozens of people who were shown the pictures. The Indiana Attorney General has since opened an investigation into the disturbing scheme. Multiple families also filed lawsuits against Alford’s and Malone. Alford’s settled the cases while they’re still pending against Malone and Justice for Michiana.


This is not the first time Malone has been involved in potentially illegal activity. Federal court records show Malone has a criminal record spanning more than a decade.

In 1999, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for credit card fraud. He was ordered to pay more than $17,000 in restitution.

In 2005, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Aiding and Abetting Forfeiture Allegation. He was ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution.

In 2015, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. He was ordered to pay more than $50,000 in restitution.There are also several state level charges and convictions, including child molestation. Malone recently petitioned the court to expunge those records.

Despite all of that, the City of South Bend awarded Malone with $7,000 in taxpayer money as part of the “Alive grant.”According to the city’s website, the “Alive grant program is part of the City’s ongoing efforts to reduce incidents of gun violence in the community and provide constructive initiatives for South Bend’s young people.”

Attached is Malone’s grant application and the City’s award.



In 2021, RNM reached out to Mayor James Mueller, who had the city’s director of communications, Caleb Bauer, respond. The city had 3 days to come up with the following statement.

“The South Bend Alive Grant Program was developed to support community-based initiatives that work to reduce incidents of gun violence in South Bend. Applicants were required to complete a narrative grant application describing their plans for prospective programming and submit a budget form detailing how grant funds would be utilized.Recipients are required to provide quarterly updates on their programs and measurable data to the Office of Community Initiatives for review.Grant recipients have agreed to comply with all federal, state and local laws, rules, regulations and ordinances. A grantee who violated any laws would also be in violation of the program agreement and could be subject to litigation.”

RNM asked Bauer if the city knew about Vernado Malone’s criminal record and if the city did background checks on the applicants. Bauer did not respond.However, Malone is not the only criminal the city handed taxpayer dollars over to. RNM’s investigations into the Alive Grant and its awardees have lead to the discovery of several other potential criminal acts.

RNM discovered the city changed the name on one grant to give money to a friend of the Director of Community Initiatives, Maurice Scott. A notice of tort was issued in that case. You can read all about that here.

Another awardee, Wright Chosen Ministries and its founder Lori Wright, is accused of taking food stamps from homeless families and selling them to a woman in Louisiana. You can read more about that story here.

RNM discovered the city gave thousands of dollars to a convicted murderer who had been out of prison for less than a year. You can read about that here.

The city also gave grant money to a federally convicted armed robber.

REAL News Michiana relies on member subscribers to keep going. As a subscriber, you’ll get an RNM mug and invites to special events. Help us continue to expose corruption and report on the news conservatives care about by subscribing here.


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