UNIONTOWN (KDKA) – A Fayette County funeral home director is accused of stealing more than $280,000 from senior citizens who pre-paid for funerals.
On Monday, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges against Stephen E. Kezmarsky III, 50, of Uniontown.
Kezmarsky is accused of collecting payments from 51 clients from October 2010 through March of last year. According to Pennsylvania law, Kezmarsky was to put that money into escrow accounts. However, he allegedly “co-mingled the funds with his business and personal accounts and misappropriated his clients’ money.”
In a statement, Shapiro said Kezmarsky used some of the money at restaurants, gas stations, liquor stores and airline flights.
“This defendant betrayed dozens of seniors who placed their trust in him,” Shapiro said. “Many of the 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. Instead, their funds were stolen, and we’re here today to hold the person responsible accountable.”
He is also accused of filling out funeral insurance applications for clients and not sending the money to an insurance company for processing.
“Instead, Kezmarsky kept his clients’ funds and used them for business expenses of his funeral home and worse, he actually used it for personal gain, for his personal use as well,” Shapiro said.
Kezmarsky and the funeral home filed for bankruptcy last April.
Kezmarsky is facing 84 felony counts of theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, forgery and insurance fraud.
Shapiro believes there may be other victims. He is asking anyone who thinks they were victimized to call the insurance fraud number at (412)-880-0129, or the district attorney’s office at (724)-430-1245.