A Rockland County funeral home owner faces dozens of charges after investigators found that he has been embezzling money from burial accounts for nearly a decade.
The county District Attorney's Office on Thursday announced the allegations against 53-year-old Leonard Scarr who owns and operated the Scarr Funeral Home in Suffern, New York. Authorities say Scarr stole from clients in different ways, including forging death certificates for one victim.
The investigation revealed that from April 2010 to August 2020, Scarr allegedly never deposited clients' monies meant for burial accounts. He instead used the monies, on at least 33 occasions, for his own personal expenses, according to prosecutors.
Scarr allegedly took over $3,000 from victims on 27 separate occasions, prosecutors said. On six other occasions, the funeral home owner was accused of stealing more than $1,000.
Prosecutors say one client had contracted Scarr to set up two pre-paid burial escrow accounts, in which the money could only be retrieved by a trustee upon the death of the account holder. With the accounts' holders still alive, Scarr allegedly forced death certificates that he represented to the bank and withdrew the accounts' funds.
“This investigation reveals the extent of financial impact on a many of our fellow Rockland residents. My office has been working with the Ramapo Police Department to ensure that we identified potential victims and adequately charged Leonard Scarr with these crimes,” Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh said in a news release.
Scarr appeared for a virtual arraignment Thursday. It wasn't immediately clear if he has a representative who can comment on the charges.