SHENANDOAH — A woman is angry that a funeral director in Schuylkill County accused of forging her signature is facing a lot less punishment after some of his forgery charges could be dropped and the remaining one downgraded.
Police say Kathy Nalipi of Shenandoah is a forgery victim. The attorney general’s office arrested funeral director Stephen Oravitz in April. He was charged with forging Nalipi’s name on her life insurance policy, making his funeral home the beneficiary for her preplanned funeral expenses.
Now Kathy Nalipi is learning her case is moving along.
“I thought it was dead in the water. I hadn’t heard anything since we last went to court so I thought, you know, it was tucked under the table.” Nalipi said.
Oravitz was initially charged with four felonies. In a plea deal with prosecutors three of the four felonies will be dropped. The last felony downgraded to a misdemeanor charge of forgery. That traditionally calls for a lighter penalty. In return, the funeral director will plead no contest.
Napili is surprised the court document spelling out the agreement calls for 100 hours of community service but no jail time is mentioned.
“I don’t think it’s fair. He should have jail time. I am sure if it was you or I doing something like this, we’d get more than community service.”
There is no word from the attorney general’s office why officials decided not to take the case to trial.
As for Stephen Oravitz, he won’t talk about the plea deal. He did speak with us in April after his arrest.
“If I have to plead, I’ll plead guilty to only using my clients signature, using her name, other than that I don’t think I did anything wrong.” Oravitz said back in April.
When Oravitz enters his plea next week, his alleged victim promises to be there too, hoping the judge makes jail time part of the sentence.