Police seeking more fraud victims in gravestone scam

Potential fraud victims of a Miami Twp. monument business are being asked to come forward after police said dozens of the company’s customers have filed claims that a former co-owner deceived them out of tens of thousands dollars.

About 30 to 40 customers of American Memorial Monuments have said they never received headstones they paid for — in most instances with cash — in advance, police said.

And ”all of the information we have been receiving is pointing back to the former co-owner,” said Miami Twp. Detective Danielle Schweickart. The businesses current owners are “cooperating fully,” Schweickart said.

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Schweickart did not identify the former co-owner by name on Friday. The man has not been charged. But Schweickart said the former owner left the company in recent months after several years as a partner.

Customers filing complaints “are from all over the Montgomery County….all over the surrounding Miami Valley area,” she said. The investigation is checking into transactions dating back two years, she said.

Customers have told police “that they preordered and paid for memorials and monuments for their loved ones’ funeral services and then never received the memorials or monuments,” Schweickart said.

The amounts lost by customers vary widely, she said.

“We’ve received a (gamut) of dollar amounts,” Schweickart said. “These are headstones and monuments. So normally, several thousand dollars per customer.”

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Miami Twp. is checking with other area police departments to see if they have similar complaints about the business. It is located on Kingsridge Drive by the Dayton Mall.

People who suspect they may be victims are urged to call Miami Twp. police at (937) 433-2301 and compile any documents or receipts they have, Schweickart.

In the upcoming weeks, she said, Miami Twp. police plan to present their findings to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, and will likely seek charges of theft by deception.

Meanwhile, the business has been “very diligent” in working with police on the issue, Schweickart said.

“The current owners are not under investigation at all,” she said. “They have been very cooperative about helping to identify victims. They have been actively working on trying to make it right with their customers and get them identified.”

Montgomery County court records show a person whose name matches the former co-owner had several liens - totaling more than $25,000- filed against him. Eight liens were filed in November and range in value from $1,861 to $5,926, according to court records.

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