Victims of disgraced former funeral director call for justice after sentencing is pushed back


(WIVB) — Victims of a disgraced former funeral director are pleading for justice, now that his sentence for theft and fraud was put on hold, once again.

Michael Tomaszewski pleaded guilty to embezzling customers’ deposits, after filing bankruptcy.

Michael Tomaszewski was initially charged with mishandling clients’ funds last year and since then additional charges were filed, adding up to more than $500,000. Much of that money was deposits for pre-arranged funeral services.

Michael Tomaszewski and Public Defender Jerry Ader had little to say as the former funeral director left court in Batavia. Tomaszewski’s sentencing on a host of charges, including theft of clients’ money, fraud and stealing money for pre-arranged funerals was postponed again and his clients are not happy.

“It is a delay tactic by Tomaszewski. He doesn’t want to go to jail, but he is going to be going on the seventh of December for sure,” said Al Kurek, Tomaszewski Customer.

Al Kurek has paid Tomaszewski $2,800 for services he has not received, and Kurek doesn’t know if he will ever get his money back.

“You plan on your funeral director, who you have full confidence in, to handle all the preparation for your demise and your internment, and now you have to start all over and do it yourself,” Kurek said.

Authorities have accused Tomaszewski of perpetrating the fraud at his funeral home and cremation chapel for 11 years until it caught up with him, leading to a bankruptcy filing in February of 2020, and his arrest five months later.

Customers, such as Harry and Kathy Tyson, say at one time Tomaszewski dominated the funeral business in Genesee County. The prepaid $7,000 for Harry’s mom, but she is still among the living.

“He had a wonderful funeral home. They had the event center next door that we have been at, and we have been at funerals that he has arranged for there, and they were wonderful. So whatever happened, I don’t know,” said Kathy Tyson, Tomaszewski Customer.

Tomaszewski faces up to sevens years in prison when he returns to court on December 7 although he could get probation. A judge has ruled any money owed, due to fraud, cannot be discharged in bankruptcy court and that case is still pending.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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