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Fraud cases to be heard

December 07, 2000

Fraud cases to be heard



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County prosecutors are preparing to try three cases early next year related to charges of fraud or embezzlement.

Louis Fender, former owner of Rosedale Cemetery and Funeral Home, and his wife Susan, who was the office manager, were indicted in 1999 by a Berkeley County grand jury and charged with embezzlement.

Judith Carlberg, who helped start the newspaper The Paper in 1998, was indicted in 1999 on 18 felony charges of obtaining services through false premises.

Louis Fender, 72, was indicted on 42 counts of embezzlement, representing 42 individuals, couple or families who had purchased pre-need funeral contracts. His wife, whose age was not available, was indicted on 24 counts.

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Through the contracts, customers could purchase burial plots or other funeral services for loved ones in advance so they would not have to worry about the arrangements when people died. According to allegations in the indictment, customers pre-paid for burial plots for loved ones but were later told the contracts didn't exist.

Rosedale operates a funeral home and cemetery off W.Va. 45 east of Martinsburg.

In one case, the alleged embezzlement goes back to 1950, the court documents show. Most of the activity for which the Fenders have been charged allegedly occurred in the 1980s.

Louis Fender is charged with embezzling $120,410. His wife is charged with embezzling $96,420.

Susan Fender's trial is set for Jan. 17. Louis Fender's trial is set for Feb. 6.

The maximum potential prison term for a conviction on an embezzlement count is one to 10 years.

A Jan. 30 trial is scheduled for Carlberg, who is charged with 18 counts of obtaining services through false premises. The 18 counts represent 18 former employees who prosecutors say were promised wages but were never paid, according to court documents. The Paper operated out of Berkeley Plaza from June to November 1998.

Court documents allege that Carlberg owes employees about $314,000 in wages.

The maximum potential prison term for a conviction on a count of fraud is one to 10 years.

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