Ex-funeral home owner sentenced to prison for financial scams to dozens of victims
The former owner of a funeral home is headed to prison for numerous financial scams to his customers over the course of a decade.
Several victims and family members of defendant Leonard Scarr showed up in court Wednesday as he was sentenced to two to six years and ordered to pay restitution to all 88 of his confirmed victims.
Scarr scammed over $500,000 from his customers by pocketing the money customers gave as payment for a future burial, even going as far as forging death certificates to withdraw money from prepaid burial escrow accounts.
"You stole the comfort of people who thought their affairs were in order and that they were sparing their loved ones the expense and emotional toll of planning a funeral. You stole money, lots of money from vulnerable people - many of whom were elderly and trusted you. You took advantage of their trust and treated their burial accounts like your own piggy bank," said Rockland County Court judge Hon. Larry J. Schwartz. "You traumatized your victims. In the words of one, this whole thing has been a nightmare."
Scarr also had the opportunity to address the court: "To all the victims out there, I truly apologize to you. I do have an addiction to Xanax and a gambling problem, and I apologize to each and every one of you for what I did to you. It wasn't fair and I didn't mean it. I'm sorry."
Edwards Funeral Chapel has since taken over the funeral home, and its new owners tell News 12 that they've honored the pre-paid burial accounts of all victims who have decided to keep their account there and will continue to do so.