Funeral Industry News

Funeral Director Cited For Stealing From Dead

October 19, 2009

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Funeral Director Cited For Stealing From Dead

CT – The former director of the Coventry Funeral Home was arrested Thursday as part of the state?s probe into fraud allegations against his business in East Hartford.

Kevin K. Riley, 52, of 20 Pinney Road, Somers, was charged with one count each of corrupt organizations and racketeering activity (CORA) and first-degree larceny, the Chief State Attorney?s Office?s Division of Criminal Justice said.

He is also facing:

? Two counts of first-degree conspiracy to commit larceny.

? Eleven counts of second-degree larceny.

? Three counts of second-degree conspiracy to commit larceny.

? Second-degree criminal attempt to commit larceny.

? Third-degree larceny.

? Third-degree criminal attempt to commit larceny.

? Five counts of second-degree conspiracy to commit forgery.

Riley was released on $500,000 bond Thursday and is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court Oct. 29.

The State?s Attorney Office said the arrest is part of an ongoing investigation into allegations Riley and employees at Hartford Trading Services LLC ? Riley?s East Hartford Funeral home ? stole money and property from the estates of deceased persons.

The funeral home has also been accused of double billing the state for expenses related to the transport and burial of deceased persons, the DCJ added.

The Statewide Protection Bureau and Elder Abuse Unit, part of the State?s Attorney?s Office, has been conducting the investigation, which began with a complaint from the state Department of Public Health, which regulates funeral homes.

Riley is the third person associated with Hartford Trading Services to be arrested in the probe and the DCJ said his arrest completes the state?s investigation.

Yolande Faulkner, 54, of Bolton, and Sherri Blews, 25, of Feeding Hills, Mass., are facing various larceny charges, and Faulkner was also charged with racketeering and filing a false tax return.

The DCJ also said Riley was a licensed funeral director with homes in Coventry ? which he operated until 2007, East Hartford and Norwalk, although the other two facilities were not mentioned as part of the investigation in the state?s press release Thursday.

Riley also had a contract with the office of the chief medical examiner to transport deceased individuals whose deaths were being investigated by the examiner, according to the release.

For Riley, it is the second time he is facing possible penalties for allegations made by the state Department of Public Health after the state Board of Examiners for Embalmers and Funeral Directors fined him $10,000 and issued a reprimand in December.

The state listed 20 charges against Riley, with more than 60 violations included in those charges, including giving licensed work to unlicensed employees, improper billing practices and inaccurate paperwork.

The examiners board, however, said the state did not have enough evidence for all but one charge against Riley.

Source: Mansfield Today (CT)