Man accused of cemetery fraud arrested in Pennsylvania


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@aimmedianetwork.com



A recently indicted Ravenna, Ohio, man was in police custody Wednesday after a Delaware County Sheriff’s detective coordinated with police in Pennsylvania to secure his arrest.

Theodore L. Martin, 53, was indicted by a Delaware County Grand Jury Friday, along with his wife Arminda K. Marin, 46, and charged with more than 50 counts including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and theft.

After the Martins were indicted, warrants were issued for their arrest to bring them to Delaware County and face the charges.

Tracy Whited, the head of community and media relations for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, reported Wednesday that Detective Christy Burke was the investigator in the case and knew that Theodore Martin had a gambling habit. Whited said Burke contacted casinos near a property Martin owns in Pennsylvania and asked them to report him to the Pennsylvania State Police.

Whited said Pennsylvania State Police took Martin into custody Tuesday evening at a casino after they were contacted by casino staff.

Whited said the process of bringing Theodore to Ohio is under way.

Theodore and his wife are accused of accepting money for services at a Lewis Center cemetery but never delivering the promised services or items.

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 also was 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.

A warrant is still active for Arminda’s arrest.

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 on Friday. “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, Ohio, 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 warning county residents to be cautious of anyone going door to door trying to sell anything related to Fairview.

The Martins are also defendants in five civil suits in Portage County alleging they were paid for services and items they never performed or delivered at a cemetery they own in Ravenna, Ohio. Court records indicate those purchases range from 1990 to 2008.

By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@aimmedianetwork.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.