SPRINGFIELD, Pa. (CBS) — A former Delaware County funeral home director is accused of stealing almost $1 million from the business. The charges have to do with prepaid burial contracts. Under state law, when a person decides to give a funeral home money for their future services, the business is required to put that money into an escrow account.
But authorities in Delaware County say that on 87 occasions William O’Leary kept the money for himself.
From 2009 to 2018, O’Leary was in charge of running his family’s business — O’Leary Funeral Home in Springfield.
According to the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, during his time as funeral director, O’Leary defrauded the business and customers out of $863,512 — money that families had paid to cover future funeral expenses.
Authorities also allege that O’Leary’s girlfriend and former employee, Mary Alice Kelly, conspired with him to steal over $105,000.
“His greed caused financial hardship for the O’Leary Funeral Home, which has made good on all of the promised contracts despite William O’Leary’s misdeeds,” Delaware County District Attorney Kate Copeland said.
State records obtained by Eyewitness News show that O’Leary had his funeral director’s license suspended twice since 2011 after failing to pay civil penalties imposed on him.
Other family members have now taken over the operation.
The O’Leary Funeral Home provided this statement:
“We are a small family business that has served our Delaware County community with respect and dignity for more than 40 years. We view these events as nothing less than a betrayal of our family’s reputation. We first learned about this theft nearly 18 months ago, and we reported it to the proper authorities. We have been cooperating with law enforcement from the start, and we intend to see that justice is done in this case.”
The O’Learys also stated that they will continue to honor all funeral contracts and obligations.
Authorities say O’Leary would provide families with a burial trust form. That form included phony banking statements that pointed to escrow accounts that did not exist.
If you feel like your family may have been victimized, contact the Criminal Investigation Division at 610-891-4161.