The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office is investigating more than a dozen reports of fraud or theft by deception in connection with Fairview Memorial Park.
Tracy Whited, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Wednesday that deputies began an investigation on March 1 when a Pataskala, Ohio, resident called to report he had paid $2,695 for a headstone that was never placed at the Fairview Memorial Park Cemetery in Berlin Township.
Whited reported that after the investigation began, detectives learned of 11 more victims of theft, theft by deception or fraud.
A post on the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page urged residents to be cautious of anyone going door to door, trying to sell anything related to Fairview.
According the the sheriff’s office, the primary suspects in the case are the owners of the cemetery, Ted and Arminda Martin, who are Pennsylvania residents.
Whited said the sheriff’s office is working with the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office to bring charges against the Martins.
Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien said no charges have been filed yet but an investigation is ongoing.
O’Brien and the sheriff’s office are urging county residents to contact the sheriff’s office if they have any information about the case or are visited by someone selling items related to Fairview. The sheriff’s office can be reached at 740-833-2831.
This is not the Martins’ only legal trouble with a cemetery, however.
According to court records, the Martins are also defendants in a civil case in Portage County, Ohio, where they own another cemetery, Grandview Memorial Park in Ravenna, Ohio.
According to court records, the Martins were paid $2,200 for a headstone that was never installed at Grandview in April 2015. The man who paid for the headstone, Edin Memic, is asking a judge to order the Martins to pay back the cost of the headstone, plus $6,000 in damages.
Another lawsuit — filed by a Kent, Ohio, couple, Russell and Kathryn Shaffer — states that the Shaffers paid more than $5,000 for goods and services at Grandview that were not provided by the Martins. The dates of the purchases range between 1990 to 2008.
The Shaffers are asking a judge to award them more than $22,000 in damages.
No judgments have been made in the two Portage County cases.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.