An anticipated plea from Michael S. Tomaszewski in his funeral home fraud case has been delayed until April 13 for reasons not revealed during a brief County Court hearing today.
During the virtual hearing, Judge Charles Zambito and both attorneys -- Thomas Burns for the defense and Assistant District Attorney Kaitlynn Schmit -- mentioned a prior off-the-record discussion about the case without indicating what was discussed, but it seemed to have some bearing on Tomaszewski's decision not to enter a plea today.
For the record, Schmit said she thought there should be no delay in the plea.
"I don’t think our discussion today is going to have any effect on the plea offer," Schmit said. "I would like to have closure for the victims in these cases. I would ask that we proceed with the defendant’s plea if that’s how he intends on proceeding."
There is no indication that Tomaszewski won't accept the plea deal that's been offered by the District Attorney's Office.
At a hearing in early February, the pending plea offer was discussed. Under the terms, Tomaszewski would admit to a Class D felony, a Class E felony, and a misdemeanor public health law offense. There is no cap on Tomaszewski's possible sentence but his time would run concurrently on all three counts.
The plea couldn't be accepted at that hearing because Tomaszewski had not yet been arraigned in Town of Batavia Court on pending charges in that jurisdiction.
Today, Zambito appointed himself acting town justice and accepted Tomaszewski's not guilty plea to those charges during an arraignment.
Those charges will be satisfied with a guilty plea if Tomaszewski accepts the pending plea offer.
Tomaszewski, who operated the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral Home and Cremation Chapel in Batavia for more than a decade, faces more than 200 charges stemming from accusations that he took money from customers who intended to prepay for funerals and, instead of depositing the money in appropriate accounts, he allegedly used the money for other purposes.
The criminal complaint indicates the majority of customers lost from more than $2,000 up to $15,500 each.
The charges include 67 counts of third-degree grand larceny, 28 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, four counts of falsifying business records, 93 counts of failure to deposit, seven counts of petit larceny, and counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, and scheme to defraud.
He's also accused of improperly handling the remains of a deceased veteran.
While his criminal case is pending, so his bankruptcy case. He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020. There was a hearing on the case yesterday, but the results of that hearing are not yet publicly available.