HARTFORD, Conn. – A Connecticut funeral home director was sentenced Tuesday to eight months in prison for stealing from people, including his dead clients whose homes were raided for money and other valuables.
Kevin Riley, who ran a funeral home in the small Connecticut town of Coventry, was also ordered to give up his professional licenses and scolded for preying on vulnerable people.
"You, Mr. Riley, yourself have to agree you lost your way. You took advantage of that position of trust," Hartford Superior Court Judge David Gold said.
Authorities say Riley and a coconspirator, Yolanda Faulkner, stole money, jewelry and paintings from the homes of dead people who had no relatives, after Riley had himself appointed administrator of their estates. Prosecutors say the two sold some of the goods at an auction house where Faulkner was the bookkeeper.
In a statement read to the court by his attorney, the 54-year-old Riley accepted responsibility for his actions.
"The mistakes that I made were to support my wife and my children," he said.
Riley was charged following an investigation into his two businesses, the Coventry Funeral Home and Hartford Trade Services of East Hartford, and pleaded guilty in August to several larceny charges. Prosecutors initially sought a prison term of seven years, but his sentence was capped at two years by a plea agreement.
The judge and prosecutors said Riley had done good works by extending his services to the indigent and others such as suicide victims who had no one else to pick up their bodies. But the judge said he deserved a prison sentence because his crimes were reprehensible.
In addition, Riley must pay nearly $63,000 in restitution to victims' families as well as state agencies that he double-billed. He also received three years' probation.
Faulkner, 55, who also pleaded guilty to larceny charges in August, was sentenced Tuesday to three years' probation and 300 hours of community service.
The judge said the pair had abused the trust of their clients.
"They looked to you and Mr. Riley for the comfort that, frankly, you advertised. While having one hand on their shoulder, you had another hand in their pocket," Gold said.
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