Funeral home operator deep in debt


Even before Michel S. Tomaszewski was arrested and charged with stealing more than $500,000 from clients at his funeral home, his finances had been spiraling out of control.

Tomaszewski is facing lawsuits in New York regarding his failure to pay creditors, his properties are under foreclosure, and he has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, both for himself and his holding company, Acme Holdings, which operates as Dibble Family Center.

All this comes as Tomaszewski is facing 201 felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly stealing more than $500,000 from clients of his Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel on West Main Street Road.

He was arrested two weeks ago and since then, numerous other complaints have been filed with Genesee County Sheriff’s Department.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if more charges are coming,” said First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell said.

Tomaszewski also is under investigation for improperly handling of remains, including storing the body of a veteran in a garage and the body of a stillborn baby.

Finnell said he is not aware of any other complaints regarding Tomaszewski’s handing of remains.

For now, investigators are continuing to sort through and verify complaints. Finnell said he has no immediate plans to submit the case to a grand jury until the end of the investigation.

Investigators have not given any reason as to why Tomaszewski allegedly stole money.

His finances, however, are a mess.

According to state Supreme Court and U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Court filings:

n Acme Holdings of NY Inc., doing business as Dibble Family Center, a catering business, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Feb. 5, citing more than $1.6 million in debts.

Among the largest claims from creditors are a furniture company out of Philadephia, with Acme owing the company $253,312; Northwest Bank of Warren, Pa,, owed $147,304; Steuben Trust of Hornell, owed $35,081 and New York state, which is owed $16,240 in back taxes.

n Tomaszewski filed for personal bankruptcy, also on Feb. 5, listing more than $1.5 million in debts.

The largest amounts are owed to Newtek Small Business Finance, $288,005, a creditor from when Tomaszewski owned Batavia Party House; Northwest Bank, $215,034; and two private citizen claims, one worth $111,420 for helping secure a mortgage on the funeral home and the other, $155,093 for a mortgage on Tomaszewski’s house on Edgewood Drive.

n He also owes more than $25,000 in back taxes to the IRS.

n Tomaszewski is being sued in state court for $4,904.40 by Traditional Funeral Products of Buffalo, which claims Tomaszewski failed to pay for items used for funeral services.

n He also is being sued for breach of contract by Northwest Bank in Warren, Pa.

Northwest also filed a foreclosure notice for Tomaszewski’s house and businesses.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1