An Akron funeral director has been charged with grand larceny, accused of pocketing more than $5,000 in prepaid funeral money that should have been deposited in a bank.
But authorities say it’s not Paris J. Childs’ first brush with the law. He was convicted less than five years ago of stealing $175,000 from a Lancaster widow.
In the current case, Childs, from Childs Funeral Home in Akron, has been charged with one count of third-degree grand larceny. He is accused of failing to deposit $5,070 from one victim’s prepaid funds into a bank or certificate of deposit, as required under law, according to the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
“There are other victims, and the investigation is continuing,” State Police Senior Investigator Joseph M. Commisso said Tuesday.
It is not clear how much money may have been stolen, as investigators want to hear from other consumers whose prepaid funds have not been properly deposited.
Childs, now 53, served jail time four years ago for embezzling $175,000 from an 85-year-old widow over a three-year period. He pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny, was sentenced to six months in jail in January 2010, was placed on five years’ probation, and his state funeral director’s license was revoked.
At that sentencing, State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia rebuked Childs for “taking advantage of a vulnerable senior citizen.” Before being taken into custody, Childs told the judge he was “deeply remorseful” for having cheated the widow.
Then, in November 2012, Buscaglia ruled that Childs could reapply for his license, but he was not allowed to deal directly with his customers’ money. At the time, the judge warned Childs that he still could face up to seven years in prison for any further criminal behavior or violation of his probation.
Childs’ attorney during that same proceeding said his client had repaid the $175,000 to the widow’s estate.
The latest charge involves the theft of funds received by the Akron funeral home for prepaid or preneed accounts, state police say.
Typically, a family or person meets with funeral home officials to discuss burial, a memorial service, an obituary, a casket and other details. Any prepaid money, by law, must be placed into a bank account or certificate of deposit. That money is held in trust, and the client receives regular bank statements showing the interest earned on the account.
“In this particular case, that account was never set up, and the money never made it to the bank,” Commisso said.
Investigators want to hear from anyone who has not received the proper statements about such accounts that were supposed to be set up by the Childs Funeral Home. Those investigators can be reached at the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation by calling 759-6831.