Hudson Valley Funeral Director Stole $531K From New Yorkers
A Hudson Valley funeral director was accused of forging death certificates and more.
Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh announced the sentencing of Scarr Funeral Homeowner Leonard Scarr to an indeterminate term in state prison of two to six years’ incarceration for his convictions of two counts of grand larceny in the third degree, one count of forgery in the second degree, and one count of scheme to defraud.
“Losing a loved one is one of the most challenging times in an individual's life. The defendant took advantage of these difficult situations the victims were in for his own personal gain. I hope today’s sentence, which included the full reimbursement of funds, gives the victims some comfort. I commend the detectives of the Ramapo Police Department for their dedication and professionalism in investigating this case.” District Attorney Tom Walsh said.
Leonard Scarr of Warwick was convicted for stealing in excess of $3,000 from two victims.
For the first victim, after contracting with him to set up a pre-paid burial account, Scarr deposited the victim’s money into an interest-bearing account. Regarding this account, Scarr could only access the account’s funds upon the death of the victim account holder. In order to obtain the funds, Scarr instead forged a death certificate in the victim’s name, presented the forged certificate to representatives of the bank where the burial escrow account was held, withdrew the accounts’ funds, and used them for various personal expenses without any permission or authority. At the time of the withdrawal and as of today, the respective accounts’ holder is still alive.
For the second victim, Scarr also contacted her to set up a pre-paid burial account, but never deposited the victim’s money into a mandated interest-bearing account.
Scarr used the victim’s funds for various personal expenses without any permission or authority, officials say.
An investigation by the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office and the Town of Ramapo Police Department discovered 88 victims and a total loss of just under $500,000, according to the Rockland County District Attorney's Office.
Over 30 other victims provided written impact statements to the Rockland County Department of Probation for the judge to review.
"In pleading guilty to the scheme to defraud, the defendant admitted to knowingly and willfully failing to deposit and keep such moneys for uses not authorized. At sentencing, three victims addressed the court and defendant on the record with victim impact statements," the Rockland County District Attorney's Office stated in a press release.
Rockland County officials continue to work to make sure all of the victims are fully reimbursed.