BATAVIA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The owner of a Genesee County funeral home has been charged with taking money from customers for future funeral expenses and never putting the money into trust accounts.
Michael S. Tomaszewski, 48, of Batavia, is charged with 91 counts of failure to deposit monies paid in advance in connection with agreements for funeral merchandise or services under NYS General Business Law.
He is also charged with 61 counts of third degree grand larceny, 29 counts of fourth degree grand larceny, five counts of first-degree falsifying business records, two counts of first-degree scheme to defraud, first degree offering a false instrument for filing, and three counts of petit larceny.
According to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, an investigation into Tomaszewski’s business, Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral and Cremation Chapel, LLC, started in February after the sheriff’s office received a complaint from a customer who was concerned about money they had paid for pre-paid funeral arrangements.
According to NYS General Business Law, pre-paid money for future funeral expenses are required to be placed into trusts in the customers’ names within ten days of the money being received.
It’s alleged that the money customers paid- amounts between $350 and $15,500- was never placed into trust accounts, and no accounts were ever opened in the customers’ names.
Tomaszewski is also accused of receiving payment from two customers for headstones and gravesites that were never purchased.
It’s also alleged that Tomaszewski created business documents showing fake account information for customer trust accounts that were never opened, as well as sending fictitious documentation to the Genesee County Department of Social Services.
A total of 93 customers were affected and the total of combined losses in this case is $525,000.
Tomaszewski was released after his arraignment and his next court date is Sept. 17.
The investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected. Anyone who believes they may have been a victim can call Pre-Plan at 800-577-3752 to verify the existence of their account.
You can also call (585)343-5000 to make a report with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.