Guilty Plea From Funeral Director In Fraud Case

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RINGTOWN -- A funeral director in Schuylkill County, charged with forgery, pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Stephen Oravitz of Ringtown was charged in April with forging life insurance documents by making his funeral home in Shenandoah the owner and beneficiary of the policy.

Funeral director Stephen Oravitz of Ringtown arrived at the Schuylkill County Courthouse ready to admit he committed a crime.

"Do you have anything to say to your customers?"
"No," Oravitz said.
"Are you concerned about losing your license?"
"No I am not," he said.

Oravitz pleaded guilty to forgery in connection with forging the signature of Katherine Nalipi on her $10,000 life insurance policy, all to make the funeral home the beneficiary.

"When you need an undertaker you go to them and you're hoping they do the right thing by you, but I happened to know what he was doing and I questioned it and he told me this is how Pennsylvania does their work," Nalipi said.

He agreed to plead guilty and in exchange, prosecutors dropped three felony charges against him.

The judge said the maximum amount of jail time for the crime was five years in jail, but under a plea agreement with the state attorney general's office, Oravitz was sentenced to a lot less.  He received six months' probation and 100 hours of community service. That makes his victim angry.

"He should be paying a fine. He should maybe be doing jail time for this here, that's how I feel about it. I don't think he should be going scot-free, not at all," Nalipi said.

The next step is with state officials who license funeral directors. They can fine Oravitz, revoke or suspend his license.