HARRISBURG– Acting Attorney General Michelle Henry today announced a settlement with the gravestone and engraving company “1843 LLC,” and its owners Gregory J. Stefan Sr., Gregory J. Stefan Jr., and Gerard Stefan. According to court documents, the company often failed to deliver gravestones and gravestone engravings in a timely manner, or not at all. The Office of Attorney General entered into an injunction last year regarding the Stefans’ and their business, 1843 LLC, to prevent them from causing consumers additional grief when obtaining a headstone for their deceased loved ones. The Defendants have now agreed to continue the injunction into the future, among other agreements, and this settlement will include restitution to be paid to consumers who were harmed.
“The Stefans didn’t just take advantage of people, but preyed on those grieving loved ones at a difficult time in their lives,” said Acting Attorney General Henry. “This settlement will finally ensure that all Pennsylvania consumers who were harmed are made whole. The Office of Attorney General will continue to use every tool at its disposal to ensure that Pennsylvanians are treated fairly.”
Stefan Sr. was initially sued by the Office of Attorney General in 2015 as the sole operator of Lifestone by Stefan, LLC and Stefan Memorials, Inc. Stefan Sr. and his sons later moved their family business to a new company, 1843 LLC. That lawsuit alleges that the Defendants charged consumers for headstones that were never delivered or were delivered late, denied customers full refunds when requested, and solicited consumers in misleading and deceptive ways.
In January 2021, the Office of Attorney General filed a contempt petition against Lifestone, Stefan Memorials, and Stefan, Sr., which resulted in a judgment for more than $300,000 in restitution, civil penalties, and costs, and an injunction against Stefan, Sr., that prevented him from owning, managing, or having any significant involvement in any business that provides or engraves headstones for consumers.
Later in 2021, the Office filed suit again, this time against 1843, LLC, Stefan Sr., and his two sons for charging consumers for headstones that were delivered late or never delivered, and for not paying full refunds to consumers who requested those refunds. The complaint also asserts that the Defendants were known to call Pennsylvanians who had recently lost loved ones and falsely claimed that they were the preferred vendor for or were affiliated with a cemetery.
The settlement terms have been made part of the court record during the trial on January 9, 2023 and requires court approval to become final. The court will also determine whether to impose civil penalties upon the Defendants for violations of the Unfair Trade Practice and Consumer Protection Law.
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