The Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office has filed a civil suit against the owners of Fairview Memorial Park and is asking that the cemetery be sold and asking that the company that owns the cemetery be dissolved.
A Verified Complaint for Judicial Dissolution was filed Tuesday in Delaware County Common Pleas Court by First Assistant County Prosecutor Kyle Rohrer and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Civil Division, Christopher Betts, and asks Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley to order that the cemetery be sold and that he appoint someone to take care of the cemetery.
The complaint alleges that Theodore L. Martin, and Arminda K. Martin, the owners of Fairview Memorial Park Inc., have used the cemetery to further criminal purposes by taking money for goods and services. But the couple never delivered the items and are charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and theft.
The complaint also states that the Martins are currently in out-of-state prisons for a federal tax evasion case related to the cemetery and prosecutors argue that Fairview Memorial Cemetery Incorporated should be dissolved.
“As Fairview has been used by Theodore L. Martin and Arminda K. Martin to further criminal purposes or as a subterfuge to engage in criminal activity, Fairview should be sold or judicially dissolved and its affairs wound up,” prosecutor state in the motion.
“The goal of all of this is to put somebody in a position of responsibility so it can be maintained, cared for and kept,” Betts said. “Obviously [the Martins] are in federal prison right now and don’t have the ability to do any of those things.”
Betts said Tuesday afternoon that it was “very obvious” that something needed to be done with the cemetery before it becomes a public nuisance, health hazard and to do right by the individuals buried there.
“This is a highly emotional issue for those that have loved ones buried there,” Betts said. “[We filed the complaint] to make sure it’s cared for and to make sure the people are buried there are at peace and respected.”
Betts also filed a motion asking that all proceedings in the case be expedited to avoid the cemetery deteriorating further. Betts said that a hearing be scheduled in the case.
A hearing has not yet been set.
Theodore and Arminda were convicted of the tax evasion charged and each ordered to serve one year in prison last year. However, the sentencing judge delayed Theodore’s sentence so he could run Fairview and two other cemeteries.
However, two weeks ago federal police learned that Theodore Martin had twice used cemetery funds to post bond in Delaware County Common Pleas Court and took him into custody and ordered that he immediately begin serving his one-year prison sentence. Arminda is scheduled to be released from prison in January 2018.
Theodore Martin is charged with one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and 52 counts of theft in Delaware County Common Pleas Court. He was scheduled to stand trial on May 30 but on Monday, his attorney, William Leber, filed a motion for a continuance because Martin is currently in prison in Pennsylvania for the tax evasion case.
A new trial has not yet been scheduled.
Arminda Martin is charged with one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and 37 counts of theft in Delaware County Common Pleas Court. An arraignment has not yet been set for Arminda.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.
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