Suburban Memorial Gardens owners expected to plead guilty to federal charge
Alleged victims of theft from Suburban Memorial Gardens in Conewago Township testify to lawmakers their experience with the cemetery. Christopher Dornblaser, 717-505-5436/@YDDornblaser
The husband-and-wife owners of a Conewago Township cemetery accused of defrauding customers are expected to plead guilty next month, according to federal court records.
Those records state Theodore Martin, 55, and Arminda Martin, 48, owners of Surburban Memorial Gardens at 3875 Bull Road, signed an agreement to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
The agreement states the couple will pay at least $493,000 in restitution.
Arminda Martin has a change of plea hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 17 at the U.S. District Court at 228 Walnut St. in Harrisburg.
Theodore Martin initially had his scheduled for that day as well, but it has since been moved to 10 a.m. May 24.
Theodore Martin signed the agreement April 16, and his wife signed it April 13.
They are still listed as the cemetery's owners on York County's property viewer.
No sentence has been decided, according to the agreement, which states the couple cannot withdraw the plea if they are not satisfied with the sentence.
Background: Federal authorities have alleged the Martins collected money for burial services, plots, vaults, caskets and grave markers between 2010 and 2016.
Officials said the couple collected about $500,000 from at least 200 customers and embezzled the money for their own personal gain, including gambling.
The Martins' indictment alleges there are multiple accounts of customers sending payments to them for thousands of dollars in cemetery services but never receiving services.
They were indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in April 2018. Initially they were charged locally by Northern York County Regional Police, but those charges were withdrawn once the Office of the Inspector General took over the case.
It was nearly two years before federal charges were filed.
At the time of their Pennsylvania indictment, Arminda Martin was serving 4½ years in prison and Theodore Martin was serving five years in prison.
Both of their prison sentences were for thefts related to the two cemeteries they owned in Ohio, according to officials.
Family members of those buried at the cemetery, along with other volunteers, have been helping with the upkeep of it while the Martins are in prison.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.