New charges by Attorney General Shapiro brings total amount stolen by Funeral Home Director to more than $525K from 82 clients – mostly seniors
HARRISBURG —Following an earlier arrest and set of charges in January, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bower today announced additional charges against a Uniontown funeral home director for stealing another $244,377 from elderly clients who had pre-paid for their own funerals.
Investigators believe Stephen E. Kezmarsky III, 50, of South Pennsylvania Avenue, Uniontown, stole a total of $528,770 from his clients between October 2010 and March 2017. Kezmarsky operated Kezmarsky Funeral Home in Uniontown.
After Attorney General Shapiro personally announced the first round of charges at a January press conference in the Fayette County Courthouse, an additional 31 victims came forward, bringing the total number of victims identified so far to 82. Today Kezmarsky was charged with an additional 89 felony and misdemeanor counts of theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and insurance fraud. In total, Kezmarsky stands charged with more than 170 felonies and misdemeanors.
“Many of the elderly victims in this case live on fixed incomes and set aside this money so their funerals wouldn’t be a burden on their loved ones,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “They trusted this funeral home director. He betrayed their trust, stole their funds, and we’re going to hold him accountable for his crimes and ensure every victim is heard.”
Kezmarsky collected advance payments from clients to cover their future funeral expenses at the Kezmarsky Funeral Home. Instead of placing the money in escrow accounts as required under Pennsylvania law, Kezmarsky co-mingled the funds with his business and personal accounts and stole his clients’ money.
“This has been a joint effort by Attorney General Josh Shapiro and my office, with the lead investigators, Fayette County Detective John Marshall and Special Agent Brad Capan of the Attorney General’s Office, dedicating their time to protecting the residents of Fayette County,” Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower said.
“If you or your loved one was victimized by this funeral home, I want to hear from you,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Call my Insurance Fraud investigators or District Attorney Bower. We’ll pursue every lead we receive.”
The Insurance Fraud number to call is 412-880-0129. The District Attorney’s office is 724-430-1245.Senior Deputy Attorney General Dennis Kistler and District Attorney Richard Bower are co-prosecuting the case.
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