Tomaszewski arrested in massive theft

Tomaszewski

BATAVIA — A longtime funeral director and business owner has been arrested and charged with stealing more than a half million dollars from clients.

Michael S. Tomaszewski is accused of stealing from about 100 clients, including people looking for prepaid funeral plans and from the families of deceased people, Genesee County First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell said.

“This involves taking money from people for prepaid plans and not applying it to their account,” Finnell said. “It also involves taking money from families of decease for items such as stones and markers.”

In all, Tomaszewski faces 201 charges. The combined thefts allegedly total $525,000.

Finnell said the investigation began several months ago after complaints were made to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigator Christopher Parker compiled a case involving about 100 people in Batavia, Elba and Alabama.

In a press release, Parker said the Office for the Aging filed a complaint on behalf of a customer, expressing concern regarding money they paid for prepaid funeral arrangements.

Prepaid money by law is to be placed in trust accounts and no such accounts were ever opened, Parker said.

Tomaszewski also is accused of receiving money for two headstones and gravesites that were never purchased. He also created fake account information for trust accounts that were never opened.

Customers allegedly paid anywhere from $350 to $15,500 for their specific funeral expenses.

Tomaszewski is charged with:

n 61 counts of third-degree grand larceny, a D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

n 29 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, an E felony punishable by up to four years.

n Three counts of petit larceny.

n Two counts of scheme to defraud.

n Five counts of falsifying business records.

n 10 counts of offering a false instrument for filing.

n 91 counts of violating state business law.

The two counts of scheme to defraud accuse Tomaszewski of engaging in conduct with intent to defraud more than one person defined as elderly and vulnerable under state law. He was arraigned by Genesee County Judge Charles Zambito and released.

Tomaszewski, 48, opened Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation on West Main Street Road in 2006 after working as a funeral home director for 15 years.

He also formerly owned Batavia Party House and ran a catering service, Dibble Family Center.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who believes they are a victim may call Pre-Plan, a trust management company at 1 (800) 577-3752 to verify the existence of an account or go to the company’s web site.

If anyone believes they are a victim, contact the Sheriff’s Department at (585) 343-5000 to make a report.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1