Case Update: Chester Funeral Home Director Sentenced To Prison For Stealing $250K From Client’s Estate

September 10, 2021 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that a Chester County funeral home director who was charged with using his capacity as Power of Attorney and Estate Executor to steal money from an 84-year-old, terminally ill victim, has been sentenced to serve two and a half to five years in a correctional facility.

“Pennsylvanians are entitled to knowing that at the end of their lives, their money will be used as they see fit, not stolen to pay someone else’s vacation home. Today, Kenneth Neeld is facing prison time for stealing money from Keith Jerome–someone who trusted Neeld to carry out his will,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “We will continue to investigate and hold accountable anyone who misleads and steals from Pennsylvanians.”

Kenneth Neeld was charged in March 2021 with stealing money from Keith Jerome and his estate. Neeld used Jerome’s money to pay personal expenses including taxes, bills, insurance premiums, and a vacation home rental. Neeld also transferred ownership of Jerome’s car to himself, charged Jerome’s insurance company for a funeral that Neeld never performed, forged a document suggesting that Jerome owed Neeld money that he’d already stolen, and provided false information on the Jerome Estate tax return in order to conceal his thefts. To facilitate his thefts, Neeld also led another insurance company to believe that Jerome was still alive.

Neeld was sentenced for Theft, Forgery, Insurance Fraud, and related charges before the Honorable Judge Wallace Bateman. He was also ordered to serve seven years of probation concurrent to jail time and pay restitution of $257,916.61. He is also required to relinquish his professional licenses as a funeral director and insurance agent, and cannot work as a funeral director, insurance agent, financial advisor or serve in any fiduciary capacity during the entire period of court supervision. The case was investigated by Special Agent Rachel Story and prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General M. Eric Schoenberg.

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