UNIONTOWN, Pa. (Legal Newsline) — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Jan. 22 that his office is suing a funeral home director in Fayette County for allegedly stealing $284,393 from senior citizen clients who had prepaid for their own funerals.

Shapiro was at the Fayette County Courthouse in Uniontown on Jan. 22 to announce the charges. He was accompanied by district attorney Rich Bower who oversaw the inquiry into the case.

“This defendant betrayed dozens of seniors who placed their trust in him,” Shapiro said at the news conference, where he was joined by Bower and scam victims. “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 to hold the person responsible accountable.”

According to allegations, Stephen E. Kezmarsky III ran a duplicative scheme that defrauded consumers from October 2010 to March 2017. During that time, he purportedly collected advance payments from 51 clients that should have covered all costs for those clients’ eventual funerals. Kezmarsky allegedly failed to place the funds in an escrow account as required by state law and instead misappropriated them.

“The joint effort of Attorney General Josh Shapiro and I to right an injustice against the elderly in Fayette County was one both of us strongly believe in,” said Bower in a statement.

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