The trial of former Haverhill City Councilor Robert H. Scatamacchia, accused of stealing $72,000 in funeral prepayment money from 13 families, has been postponed until Tuesday morning at Essex County Superior Court, Lawrence.
Jury selection will precede opening arguments before Justice Mary K. Ames, court officials told WHAV this morning. The prosecutor is First Assistant District Attorney John T. Dawley.
Scatamacchia, 66, was arraigned a little more than a year ago on charges of two counts of larceny over $250 after being secretly indicted by an Essex County grand jury. A plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf and he was released on $5,000 bail. Scatamacchia was arrested by Massachusetts State Police detectives following an eight-month investigation.
Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokesperson for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said 13 families sought to obtain refunds of their funeral pre-payments when Scatamacchia sold his funeral home interests in 2014. “They were never able to get it. Those people complained to various agencies.” She said prepayments are supposed to be kept in separate accounts. Any pre-payment amounts prior to 2013 are outside of the state’s statute of limitations and won’t be investigated, Kimball-Monahan said.
In addition, the district attorney said, Scatamacchia illegally kept $200,000 in payments between 2010 and 2014 when he was in a partnership with another funeral home. “He was receiving payments during that time and depositing them into his personal account,” she said.
Complaints were filed with Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, state police and eventually the district attorney’s office.
While Scatamacchia took out nomination papers for re-election to the city council, he declined to return them. He served out the remainder of his term, which ended last year.