NEW HAVEN (WWJ) – Police say the owner of the Duncan-Olszewki funeral home in New Haven collected money for prepaid funerals but didn’t put the money into escrow accounts as required by law.
The 57-year-old John Olszewski was arraigned Dec. 28 in New Baltimore on funeral contract fraud and was due back in court for a hearing on Thursday. Police say four people have come forward with complaints.
WWJ Newsradio 950’s Marie Osborne spoke with a local funeral director who offered advice how to protect yourself from a similar fraud.
Patrick Lynch of Clawson’s Lynch & Sons Funeral Home said that, as with any financial transaction, consumers need to be alert and ask important questions before prepaying for a funeral.
“Where do you escrow the money? Is the money refundable if I cancel these plans? Is this money transferable … if I move to Florida and my funeral is not going to take place in Michigan, if it transferable? These are very important questions,” he said.
The Michigan Funeral Directors Association has producers a brochure on the topic. You may contact them at (313) 349-9565 or via online form at this link.
Download the “Michigan Funeral Facts” pamphlet (.pdf format) here.