Funeral Director Charged with Failure to Deposit Pre-payments
Written by Dan Fischer on July 23, 2020
Local funeral director Michael S. Tomaszewski, 48, is being charged with 91 counts of failure to deposit monies paid in advance in connection with agreements for funeral merchandise or services.
He has been arrested following an investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into Tomaszewski after a client of the Office of the Aging received a complaint from a customer of the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral Home & Cremation Chapel. The client expressed concern regarding a deposit made for pre-paid funeral arrangements.
The investigation led authorities to conclude that Tomaszewski had received pre-payments from 91 customers for which trust accounts were never opened.
When a funeral director receives pre-payment for funeral services, the director is required under NYS law to place the money in a trust account within 10 days.
Investigators believe no such accounts were ever opened.
Additionally, Tomaszewski is accused of receiving payment for two headstones, and gravesites that were never purchased.
The deposited ranged from $350 to $15,500.
It’s alleged that Tomaszewski’s customers sustained a total loss of approximately $525,000.
In February, Tomaszewski filed for bankruptcy in Federal Court.
Tomaszewski is charged with 61 counts of grand larceny 3rd, 29 counts of grand larceny 4th, three counts of petit larceny.
He is also charged with five counts of falsifying business records 1st. He is accused of creating fake business documents reflecting non-existent account information for trust accounts.
The long-time funeral director, who also owns the Dibble Center, is also accused of knowingly sending fake documentation to DSS and is charged with offering a false instrument for filing 1st.
There are also two counts of scheme to defraud filed against Tomaszewski. He is accused of engaging in a scheme constitution a systematic course of conduct with intent to defraud at least 10 people by making false promises to obtain money. He is also accused of defrauding a vulnerable elderly person as defined by state law.
Today, Tomaszewski was arraigned in County Court by Judge Charles Zambito via Skype. He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in Batavia Town Court at 10 a.m., Sept. 17.
The investigation is ongoing and further charges are expected, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Anybody who wishes to check the status of any pre-paid account can call (800) 577-3752 to verify the existence of a pre-plan account. Anybody who believes they are a victim is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (585) 343-5000.