BATAVIA, N.Y. — A Batavia businessman and funeral director is hot water with the Genesee County Sheriff's Department after allegedly taking pre-payments for funeral services, then never putting that money into state-mandated trust accounts for later use.
Michael S. Tomaszewski, 48, of Edgewood Drive in Batavia was arrested Thursday for allegedly taking money from 93 customers and not putting it into trust accounts, or using it on the headstones or graves the customers believed they purchased.
All together, the total combined losses of the customers is estimated at around $525,000.
Tomaszewski worked as funeral director at Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel, LLC. at 4120 West Main Street, according to the funeral home's website.
The funeral home is listed as an active funeral home in the New York State registry, and Tomaszewski is also listed as an active licensed funeral director.
The Genesee County Sheriff's Office says an investigation into Tomaszewski's business practices began in February of this year, after a complaint was received from the county Office of the Aging on behalf of a customer. The customer was concerned about the pre-payment they made for funeral arrangements.
In New York State, it is required that funeral directors take pre-planning payments and place them into trust accounts in the customer's name within 10 days of receiving the money. Tomaszewski is accused of not doing so for 91 customers, as well as never purchasing headstones and grave sites for two customers who had paid him to do so.
These customers allegedly each paid between $350 and $15,500 to Tomaszewski for future funeral expenses.
Tomaszewski also allegedly created business documents showing a fictitious account information for trust accounts that had not actually been opened.
He is also accused of giving the Genesee County Department of Social Services a document that referenced a fictitious account, to be filed with the department.
It is also alleged that Tomaszewski was engaged in a scheme to systematically, intentionally defraud more than 10 people, including with the intent to defraud more than one vulnerable elderly person.
All of the above lead to nearly two hundred charges, including multiple felonies and violations of New York State business laws. The charges are:
- 61 counts of grand larceny in the third degree, a class D felony
- 29 counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, a class E Felony
- 5 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, a class E felony
- 2 counts to scheme to defraud in the first degree, a class E felony
- 1 count of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a class E felony
- 3 counts of petit larceny, a class A misdemeanor
- 91 counts of failure to deposit monies, a violation of New York State General Business law Sec.453, a class A misdemeanor
The investigation has not concluded and the Sheriff's Office says further charges are expected.
If you believe you are a victim in this case and have not talked to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, you can call 585-343-5000 to make a report.