Cemetery owners indicted following ABC6 investigation
The owners of a cemetery that has been the subject of a year-long ABC 6 Investigation have been indicted on 54 counts for what prosecutors call a "cemetery scheme."
Ted and Myndi Martin are accused of taking money from at least 44 families for cemetery merchandise like memorial markers and never delivering them.
Tom Murfield died two years ago and there's still just a homemade temporary marker on his grave at Fairview Memorial Park in Delaware.
The Murfield's pre-paid for a permanent memorial decades ago. It's never been delivered.
Daughter Lisa Murfield reached out to Six On Your Side for help in February of 2016. Now, after more than a year, there is some resolution. Murfield says it's been a long time coming. "Oh definitely," said Murfield. "I think it's a happy day."
A Delaware County grand jury returned a 54-count indictment against the owners of Fairview Memorial. The Martins are charged with engaging in corrupt activity and dozens of counts of theft.
Besides Fairview Memorial, the Martins own Grandview Memorial Park in Ravenna, and Suburban Memorial Gardens in Pennyslvania. All are in financial trouble.
During an exclusive interview with ABC6 earlier this month, Ted Martin blamed his troubles on the previous owner, who Martin said had hid financial problems. To take care of families, Martin admitted to "robbing Peter to pay Paul."
"Somebody comes in and pays you $5,000 today for a marker, are you using that money for someone else's marker instead," asked reporter Kurt Ludlow. Ted Martin's response: "Sometimes that has to happen, absolutely."
He also admitted to paying himself a salary using cash withdrawals at casino ATM's.
"House of cards. Falls apart eventually," said Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien. She says the Martins victimized at least 44 families who pre-paid for grave markers, grave spaces, and vaults which they never received.
"I can't imagine anything worse than when a loved one dies, the loved one or those around them have taken the time to prepare for something like this and realize that you have to go through it all again and you have to come up with the money and you have to go through the picking out of all the casket and the grave marker and all of that again," she said. "It's just heinous."
When asked whether O'Brien thinks there will be restitution for families affected, O'Brien responded, "I doubt it."
Lisa Murfield doesn't expect to see a penny from the Martins. But she also says Ted Martin will now get what he deserves.
"It's a shame that this guy got away with all of our money but maybe now he's at least gonna pay the price through the legal system," she said.
In 2016, the Martins pled guilty to income tax evasion for hiding income from the three cemeteries. Myndi is currently serving her sentence. Ted is supposed to start his in August. They also face felony charges in Portage County and in York County, Pennsylvania.