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Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral Home & Cremation Chapel

April 23, 2021 - 2:23pm

Three new orders in the bankruptcy case of Michael Tomaszewski put 19 more of his victims at the front of the line -- at least as far as the bankruptcy proceeding goes -- for getting at least some of their money back from his scheme to divert funeral deposits to his own expenditures.

Tomaszewski was arrested last summer on more than 200 charges stemming from complaints that he mishandled deposits, known as prearrangement fees, for funerals and defrauded victims out of more than $500,000 in total.

Earlier this month, he entered a guilty plea to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and untimely burial and is facing a possible prison term as a result.

Separately, in February 2020 he filed for bankruptcy in Federal Court. He listed $1,094,346 in assets against $3,242,390 in liabilities. 

As part of his plea deal, he agreed to pay restitution to his victims. The exact amount of restitution has yet to be determined but it was revealed during his last court appearance that he has already reimbursed some of his victims.

The amounts owed to victims listed in the three recent orders are:

  • $1,950
  • $1,950
  • $4,400
  • $4,400
  • $7,063.62
  • $11,000
  • $11,000
  • $2,000
  • $4,000
  • $5,300
  • $5,300
  • $15,500
  • $15,500
  • $8,750
  • $9,480
  • $2,950
  • $2,950
  • $2,950
  • $2,950

Many of the victims are married couples with each person having a separate claim for their individual deposits.

Under federal bankruptcy law, any money gained through fraud is a debt that is not dischargeable through Chapter 7 and victims receive priority for repayment for the first $3,025 owed to them.

For previous coverage of the Tomaszewski case, click here.

April 21, 2021 - 11:56am

An order has been entered in Michael Tomaszewski's federal bankruptcy case declaring five more debts as the result of the former funeral director's fraud nondischargeable, meaning the debts won't be forgiven as part of the Chapter 7 proceedings.

The five individuals are owed $5,300, $5,300, $15,500, $15,500, and $8,750 for prearrangement deposits they made.

Tomaszewski, arrested last summer, admitted in Genesee County Court a week ago to taking more than $500,000 in funeral arrangement deposits and using the money for other expenditures. The money is supposed to be kept in interest-bearing escrow accounts.

He is scheduled to be sentenced for his crimes on July 13 and at which time he will agree to pay restitution to his victims.  

Not all of the victims have had the money they're owed included in the bankruptcy, which is handled by a federal court while the criminal matter and related restitution order is handled by county court.

In his bankruptcy, Tomaszewski listed more than $3.2 million in debts against $1 million in assets.

In his order, Judge Carl L. Bucki cited a section of federal bankruptcy law that says a debtor cannot discharge any debt that was the result of fraud or misrepresentation. 

Previously, Bucki issued a similar order for three other individuals. In all eight cases, the individuals listed in the order receive priority for repayment of the first $3,025 of debt, per person, under federal bankruptcy law.

For prior coverage of Tomaszewski's criminal case and bankruptcy proceedings, click here.

April 14, 2021 - 4:34pm

A federal bankruptcy judge in Buffalo has ruled that three debts of former funeral director Michael Tomaszewski cannot be discharged under bankruptcy law.

The three debts are part of more than $3.2 million in liabilities Tomaszewski listed when filing for bankruptcy in February 2020. He initially filed for Chapter 11, a reorganization of debts, but changed the filing to a Chapter 7, forgiveness of all debts not covered by available assets, last month.

Yesterday, in a separate criminal matter, Tomaszewski entered a guilty plea to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and untimely burial. Over the summer, the 40-year-old Batavia native was charged with more than 200 counts of criminal conduct stemming from a scheme to divert deposits made on prearrangements for funeral services to his own personal use.

The amount of restitution he will owe former clients will be set at his sentencing on July 13. He faces a possible sentence from two and one-third to seven years in prison. The restitution order could approach $500,000.

In his ruling, Judge Carl L. Bucki cited a section of federal bankruptcy law that says a debtor cannot discharge any debt that was the result of fraud or misrepresentation. 

According to the ruling, Tomaszewski will remain liable for prearrangement deposits from individuals for $10,500, $8,000, and $8,000. Under bankruptcy law, the three individuals are entitled to priority repayment for the first $3,025 of each debt.

The bankruptcy proceedings only include debts listed in the filing. Not all victims of Tomaszewski are listed as claimants in the case.

April 13, 2021 - 4:59pm

Michael Tomaszewski, the former local funeral home owner accused of misusing his client's deposit money and improperly disposing of human remains, entered a guilty plea this afternoon to felony charges that could send him to prison for up to seven years.

The plea offer included no promise of a sentence of lesser than the statutory time in prison of two and a third to seven years for his guilty plea to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and untimely burial.

The sentences for each count will run concurrently under the terms of the plea.  

Prior to Tomaszewki's last court appearance, he disclosed, through his attorney Thomas Burns, to the Sheriff's Office that the remains of another body could be found in his former funeral home. A human body was recovered.

As a result of that investigation, he is expected to be charged with another misdemeanor charge of untimely burial. Under terms of the plea deal, he is expected to plead guilty to that charge and any sentence on that charge would run concurrently to the charges disposed of in today's hearing.

Sentencing for the 40-year-old Batavia resident is scheduled for July 13 at 1:30 p.m.

Tomaszewski was arrested last summer and accused of taking money from clients who had made prearrangement deposits. He misappropriated as much as $15,000 from some clients.

Clients may have suffered a cumulative loss of more than $525,000. 

At his sentencing on July 13, Tomaszewski, under terms of the deal, must agree to make restitution in the amount specified by the prosecution.  

Assistant District Attorney Kaitlynn Schmit told Judge Charles Zambito today that she couldn't provide the exact amount of restitution because Tomaszewski has already paid some people back and there needs to be further research into exactly how much he owes his victims.

Burns said he and Schmit had reached an agreement to delay sentencing by four weeks over the standard time between a plea and sentencing to allow more time to arrive at the final restitution figure.

In a bankruptcy filing last year, which is still pending, Tomaszewski listed $1,094,346 in assets against $3,242,390 in liabilities. 

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.: The Sheriff's Office has released the arrest report on the additional charge against Tomaszewski, duty to bury. According to the Sheriff's Office, after being notified by Burns of the body, a body of a deceased person who had died Sept. 10, 2019, was recovered at the former funeral home. The body was removed and buried. Tomaszewski was issued an appearance ticket on the charge.

October 8, 2020 - 3:04pm

Batavia-based funeral director Michael Scott Tomaszewski was arraigned on 15 new charges in Genesee County Court this morning as a result of the continuing investigation of his business practices.

He owns Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral Home & Cremation Chapel, Acme Holdings of NY Inc., which owns the building that houses his funeral home on West Main Street Road, and adjacent property, including the Dibble Family Center.

On July 23, the Edgewood Drive resident, 48, was charged with 91 counts of failure to deposit monies paid in advance in connection with agreements for funeral merchandise or services for 91 customers.

Since his initial arrest, 11 additional victims came forward.

Today's virtual arraignment via Skype in front of Judge Charles Zambito was for:

  • Seven counts of third-degree larceny (Class D felony);
  • Grand larceny in the fourth degree (Class E felony);
  • Three counts of petit larceny (Class A misdemeanor); and
  • Four counts of failure to deposit monies (in violation of NYS General Obligations law).

According to the report from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Investigator Christopher Parker states the new charges "represent additional allegations concerning conduct related to monies paid to Tomaszewski for prepaid funeral and grave markers which were not used for their intended purpose."

In February, Tomaszewski filed for bankruptcy for Acme Holdings under Chapter 11 in Federal Court. He has also filed for personal bankruptcy.

Following today's arraignment, Tomaszewski was released on his own recognizance.

The investigation is continuing.

Anybody who wishes to check the status of any prepaid account can call (800) 577-3752 to verify the existence of a preplan account. Anybody who believes they are a victim is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 343-5000.

Previously:

Local funeral director charged with stealing money from customers

Sheriff's Office looking into report that Tomaszewski improperly handled stillborn baby's remains

Darien Center couple would like the truth from Tomaszewski about what happened to their daughter's remains

People who think they were defrauded by Tomaszewski should hire an attorney with expertise in bankruptcy, advises law professor

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