Man Gambles Away Grieving Families' Gravestone Money: Cops

A Newington, Connecticut, man is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from grieving families and never delivering the headstones they ordered and paid for.

New Britain police arrested 22-year-old Valeriy Sirovsky, of Newington, the owner of Farmingdale Monument Company in New Britain, after receiving several complaints from family members who had lost their loved ones.

During interviews with police, Sirovsky admitted to having a serious gambling problem and said he had accepted $18,000 for headstones and engraving from 15 clients and could not return the money because of his addiction, according to several arrest warrant applications.

Police received the first complaint about Sirovsky on June 13, when a woman told officers that she paid “Larry Sirovsky” $1,460 for a headstone for her mother in 2013 and he never provided the headstone or returned her calls, police said.

As police started looking into the case, they learned that Sirovsky had never submitted an application to the cemetery to review the headstone for the victim’s mother, police said.

On July 18, police received another complaint from a woman who said she and her father paid Sirovsky $2,750 for a headstone for her mother in August 2013, which was never completed.

During one conversation, Sirovsky told the second victim that it was too close to winter for the headstone to be placed at the cemetery and they would have to wait. The victim was never again able to reach him.

Police received a third complaint on Aug. 14 from the attorney representing a woman who had paid Sirovsky $2,044 for a headstone for her husband in November 2013, but never received it. 

On Aug. 29, police took a complaint from another customers who told a similar story.

The customer said she paid Sirovsky $610 in September 2013 to have a headstone engraved. After several unsuccessful attempts to reach him, the victim’s son reached Sirovsky in April, who promised to get the work done by May. It was never completed, according to court documents.

Sirovsky and he met with investigators on July 31. He told them his business did well and he had completed several contracts, but developed a “very bad gambling addiction” in 2013 and it affected his ability to fulfill 15 contracts worth $18,000, according to the arrest warrant application.

Sirovsky worked out of the Paul Shaker Funeral Home in New Britain but was ordered out when customers began calling to complain about missing headstones.

"I let him know we had to get the restitution back, removed the sign from my lawn because it's going to cost me business, and I wanted to make it clear it had nothing to do with the Shaker Funeral Home," explained funeral home director Paul Shaker. "It was strictly the monument company."

Sirovsky has been arrested on four warrants out of New Britain and has been charged with four counts of second-degree larceny.

He was released on a promise to appear and is due in court on Nov. 18.

No one answered the door at Sirovsky's home Tuesday. Information on an attorney for Sirovsky was not immediately available.

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