Funeral Home Fraud

April 5, 2013 Updated Apr 5, 2013 at 6:48 PM EDT

By Jason Gruenauer

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April 5, 2013 Updated Apr 5, 2013 at 6:48 PM EDT

FREDONIA (WKBW) The State Attorney General is now forcing the owner of a local funeral home in Fredonia to pay up money he took in as advanced payments for funeral expenses, but instead spent on himself.

It was first a complaint by the State Attorney General's office, and then a judge's order, mandating the owner of Fantauzzi Funeral Home, Michael Fantauzzi, to pay back more than eleven thousand dollars in payments made to him that he simply pocketed.

We went to the funeral home and spoke with Fantauzzi who did not want to appear on camera. He says it was simply an accounting mistake, that he placed the money in the wrong account, and there was no criminal intent.

But that story isn't good enough for Arthea Dailous, who paid Fantauzzi more than five thousand dollars to handle her mother's funeral back in 2011, which he never did.

"I would describe him as an embezzler in a way. I mean he is taking people's money and using it where it shouldn't be," Dailous said.

The State Attorney General's office confirmed that Fantauzzi has already begun paying back the money he owes, but Dailous says she is still waiting.

"I just need that money back. I mean, there's other things that are still outstanding not necessarily from my mother, but I had to take that out of personal to do the funeral all over again," she added.

Friday, Fantauzzi said he is sorry, is no longer taking advanced payments, but is continuing to operate his funeral home.

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