On Monday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced charges against a Fayette County funeral home director for stealing more than $280,000 from his clients. The victims were senior citizens, who had prepaid for their own funerals. The charges were announced during a news conference at the Fayette County Courthouse in Uniontown. It is alleged that from October of 2010 until March of 2017, 50-year-old Stephen E. Kezmarsky III collected advance payments from 51 clients to cover their funeral expenses at the Kezmarsky Funeral Home.
Under Pennsylvania law, the defendant would have been required to place the money in escrow accounts. He is accused of co-mingling the funds with his business and personal accounts, as well as misappropriating his clients’ money. It is alleged that the defendant used the funds for funeral home expenses and for his own personal use, such as buying gas and purchasing alcohol from local Pennsylvania liquor stores.
Also, the defendant filled out applications for funeral insurance policies for clients, but never sent the money or applications to an insurance company. Kermarsky and his funeral home filed for bankruptcy last year. The funeral home was ultimately sold on April 28, 2017. Kezmarsky has been charged with 84 felony counts of theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, forgery and insurance fraud.
At this point in time, the defendant remains innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Additional details can be found here.