The Delaware County Prosecutor's Office has accused the owner of Fairview Memorial Park of improperly using funds from the Berlin Township cemetery to pay his bond.
A Delaware County grand jury Feb. 24 returned a 54-count indictment against Arminda K. Martin, 46, and Theodore L. Martin, 53, who own Fairview Memorial Park, 5035 Columbus Pike, according to court records. Delaware County's prosecutor's and sheriff's offices last year issued a joint news release to warn residents to be cautious in any dealings with the Martins as investigators built a case against them.
The Martins, who previously lived and operated another cemetery in Ravenna, each face one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony; 17 counts of fourth-degree felony theft; 15 counts of fifth-degree felony theft; and three counts of first-degree misdemeanor theft, according to the prosecutor's office.
Theodore Martin additionally faces 10 counts of fourth-degree felony theft and six counts of fifth-degree felony theft. Arminda Martin additionally faces two counts of fifth-degree felony theft.
According to the prosecutor's office, the Martins sold grave markers and other items to customers without providing them after payment was received.
"After being indicted and arraigned in Delaware County Common Pleas Court, Mr. Martin continued with questionable business practices, specifically, using funds from the cemetery bank account to post bond," Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien said in a statement released May 4. "To protect the community and victims in this case, our office has cooperated with federal officials to take Mr. Martin into custody."
According to Delaware County Sheriff's reports, Theodore Martin advised a relative to withdraw money from an account associated with Fairview Memorial Park to pay a bail bondsman. One of the conditions set out at his bond hearing prevented him from paying with cemetery funds, reports said.
Investigators determined the cemetery still was accepting payments for coffins and grave markers as of April, according to sheriff's reports.
According to a news release from the prosecutor's office, Arminda Martin is in prison in West Virginia serving a sentence for tax evasion. The release states Theodore Martin is in Pennsylvania awaiting a prison assignment related to the same case.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, a federal judge in October sentenced both of the Martins to one year and one day in federal prison for tax evasion. The couple also was ordered to pay $304,837 in restitution to the IRS, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"With both defendants in prison, we are looking at options for maintenance and ownership," O'Brien said. "The grounds are not (and have not been) kept up properly, and there needs to be something put into place to maintain the land not only for those laid to rest, but also for their families who deserve the peace of knowing their loved ones are being taken care of."
O'Brien on May 9 filed a complaint asking the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas to appoint a receiver to either sell the cemetery or otherwise dissolve the business, according to court records. The receiver would be required to "maintain, operate and care for the cemetery" until such a sale or dissolution could occur, records state.
According to the complaint, the only maintenance performed at the site in recent weeks has been completed by volunteers.
Theodore Martin's trial is scheduled to begin May 30 in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. His attorney has filed a motion to reschedule the trial to a later date, according to court records.
Arminda Martin's arraignment in Delaware County has not been scheduled.