Hearing scheduled for alleged victims of Suburban Memorial Gardens

A policy hearing has been scheduled for those who officials say were ripped off by the owners of a Conewago Township cemetery. 

State Rep. Keith Gillepsie, R-Hellam Township, said Monday, Aug. 13, that the hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 5 at the Northern York County Regional Police Department, 1445 E. Canal Road.

Suburban Memorial Gardens in Conewago Township, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Gillespie said the point of the hearing is to allow those affected by Suburban Memorial Gardens to testify before lawmakers. From there, officials can identify the inherent problems and determine if there is anything that can be done legislatively to fix them. 

Gillespie said he would like to see if he can do anything for the victims and also try to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. 

More:Suburban Memorial Gardens: With owners imprisoned, families caring for cemetery

More:Owner of Conewago cemetery guilty of theft in Ohio

Hearing: Authorities say the owners of the cemetery at 3875 Bull Road defrauded customers of thousands of dollars.

Owners Theodore and Arminda Martin collected money for burial services, plots, vaults, caskets and grave markers between 2010 and 2016, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The couple allegedly collected about $500,000 from at least 200 customers and embezzled the money for their own use, including gambling. The two were indicted in April.

Keith Gillespie, R-Hellam Township

Gillespie urged everyone affected to reach out to his office at 717-840-4711. He said his staff would help schedule their testimony so it can be placed on the record.

He said officials are still figuring out who will be attending the meeting.

Cemetery: Both Martins are still listed as owners of the cemetery on York County's property viewer. The two were sentenced to years in prison for theft related to two other cemeteries they owned in Ohio and are awaiting trial in their Pennsylvania case.

Wanda Murren, director of the office of communications and press for the Pennsylvania Department of State, has said the cemetery's registration expired in January 2016, meaning that the cemetery could not sell plots after that date.

She said the Real Estate Commission, which registers cemetery companies for the purpose of selling plots, does not have a record of any owner or officer currently with the cemetery.

The Martins' indictment alleges there are multiple accounts of customers sending payments to them for thousands of dollars in cemetery services but never being provided the services.

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.

Jury selection for the trial is expected to start Oct. 2.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.