Couple indicted for Fairview Memorial cemetery fraud


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@delgazette.com



A Ravenna, Ohio, couple was indicted by a grand jury Friday (Feb. 24) on more than 50 counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity for accepting money for services at a Lewis Center cemetery but never delivering.

A Delaware County Grand Jury returned a 54-count indictment against Theodore L. Martin, 53, and Arminda K. Martin, 46; charging both of them with one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony; and 35 counts of theft, 17 fourth-degree felonies, 15 fifth-degree felonies, and three first-degree misdemeanors.

Theodore also was charged with an additional 16 counts of theft, ten fourth-degree felonies and six fifth-degree felonies. Arminda was also charged with an additional two counts of fifth-degree felony theft.

Arraignments have not yet been scheduled, but Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger will preside over the case.

Warrants for their arrests were filed Friday.

Prosecutors report charges come after multiple victims reported they paid the couple for services at Fairview Memorial Park in Lewis Center, but had not received anything for their money.

“There are 44 victims named in the indictment,” said Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien. “They describe purchasing items such as grave markers, grave plots, and vaults, all of which were never provided after payment.”

The indictment states the offenses occurred between February 2008 and fall of last year.

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office began the investigation in March when a Pataskala resident called the sheriff’s office to report he had paid $2,965 for a headstone that was never placed at Fairview Memorial Park Cemetery

Tracy Whited, the head of community and media relations for the sheriff’s office, reported in June that after the investigation was begun, detectives learned of 11 more victims. The sheriff’s office also posted on Facebook to warn count residents to be cautious of anyone going door-to-door trying to sell anything related to Fairview.

This is not the Martins’ only legal trouble with a cemetery, however.

According to Portage County Court records, the Martins are defendants in five civil suits filed last year. According to court documents the Martins repeatedly failed to appear in court for two of the cases and therefore lost the cases by default. Additionally, a judge ruled against them in a separate case and ordered them to pay $12,000 to the plaintiffs.

The Portage County lawsuits allege that the Martins were paid for services and items but never performed those services or delivered the items at Grandview Memorial Cemetery Park in Ravenna, Ohio. The dates of the purchases range from 1990 to 2008.

Judgments are still pending in the other two Portage County cases.

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By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@delgazette.com

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.