AG: Hudson Valley Pet Cemetery Took Cash But Didn’t Perform Tasks
The caretaker of a Hudson Valley pet cemetery is accused of accepting money for burials and maintenance but never performing the tasks he was paid for.
On Thursday, prior to New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman resigning, his office secured a court order granting restitution for pet owners affected by the fraudulent practices of Abbingdon Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory, Inc. in Montgomery.
The cemetery continued to operate while unlicensed and collect fees from customers without providing the services offered such as maintenance, burials and cremations, officials say.
In November 2017, Abbingdon Hill’s license to operate a pet cemetery expired and it was not renewed.
In violation of state law, Ray Fodera, the corporation’s vice president and cemetery caretaker, continued to operate the cemetery, collect fees and conduct burials and cremations, despite being unlicensed, according to the Attorney General's office.
In March 2018, the Attorney General’s office received complaints from pet owners regarding the poor physical condition of the cemetery. Pet owners also complained that Fodera was not returning their calls and was failing to provide them with services they paid for.
In November 2016, Orange County seized the cemetery’s 15-acre parcel located at 148 Youngblood Road, Montgomery, for alleged non-payment of taxes. The property was sold last April for $713,000. The lands new owner didn’t know he purchased a pet cemetery, officials say.
Despite being unlicensed and no longer owning the land on which the cemetery was located, as late as February 2018, Fedora allegedly continued to accept fees from pet owners for yearly maintenance, burials and cremations.
“Consumers should be able to trust that businesses will provide the services for which they’ve paid,” Schneiderman said in a press release before he resigned. “This court order secures relief to the consumers affected, while transferring the property to a new not-for-profit to ensure continuity for families with pets buried at the cemetery.
The Attorney General's office also secured the dissolution of the pet cemetery corporation and property transfer to a new not-for-profit corporation formed by pet owners to ensure all animals may remain in the cemetery.
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