UPDATED: Scatamacchia Changes Plea; Sentenced to Year in Prison

Hear Judge Mary K. Ames:

Former Haverhill City Councilor Robert H. Scatamacchia will spend a year in jail after he changed his plea to guilty this morning on two counts of larceny in Lawrence Superior Court.

Scatamacchia, 66, was sentenced by Judge Mary K. Ames to two and a half years in the state house of correction, with one year to be served and the balance suspended with probation for five years. Scatamacchia will also have to make restitution of $144,000 to the victims—both families who had pre-paid for funerals and his former business partners.

The guilty plea did not come as a result of any deal, First Assistant District Attorney John T. Dawley told WHAV. An attempt by Scatamacchia’s lawyer, Scott Gleason of Haverhill, to delay sentencing two days was denied by Ames. As a result of the plea change, a jury was not seated.

According to Dawley, Scatamacchia took as much as $244,000 in funds from funeral “pre-need contracts,” with as  many as 22 people between July, 2010 and 2014, after the former Scatamacchia Funeral Home merged with Paul C. Rogers Family-Carnevale Funeral Home, 334 Main St.  The money, he said, was “never placed in trust” but taken from a bank account named under “Scatamacchia Funeral Home” while that businesss was no longer in operation. He added Scatamacchia used an office typewriter to “make entries in a passbook” which was not credited by a bank. “Clients paid… for pre-paid services and there was no record of the money anywhere,” Dawley said.

Under questioning by Ames, Scatamacchia acknowledged his plea change was “voluntary” and made with a “clear mind. “I was accused of larceny over $250,” Scatamacchia told Ames.

“It’s a terribly embarrassing thing to go through. I’m so sorry that it ever happened. And I don’t know what else to say other than, I hope that they can forgive me,” Scatamacchia said.

Gleason requested a six month jail term with time suspended for a “house of correction alternative.” He also offered the $40,000 restitution “pool” to be turned over to the Probation department. Gleason argued Scatmacchia “made an enormous mistake” and was “deeply ashamed” of his actions. Gleason added Sctamacchia faces “self admitted” medical conditions including hypertension and depression. However, Ames refuted the claimed “mistake” and  determined Scatamacchia’s “condition does not affect sentencing.”

“This was intentional conduct planned over many years, which preyed upon the generation we call ‘the greatest generation,’ so well known for their independence and look what we’ve heard. Middle class people of modest means doing everything they needed to do to put together what is a lot of money in order that they would not be burdened. So they would be independent to the last,” Ames said.

“And they put their trust in a business that had been run for generations,” Ames added. “And yet you decided to betray the trust that was placed by these wonderful people into you, to your care, quite literally at the worst moment of their lives.”

She also found the plea change was “made on sufficient advice of counsel.”

Before sentencing, Ames heard from seven victims, including Lawrence A. Carnevale, of Paul C. Rogers Family-Carnevale Funeral Home. Other victims told Ames they grew up and work with Scatamacchia and falsely placed their trust in him.

“I would hope that he would look within himself and ask God for forgiveness. And I hope God spreads his mercy upon him for what he has done to our community, for what he has done to the funeral profession, but most importantly the families. It’s almost unforgivable in a human way. I only think God can forgive someone for something like that, I can’t,” Carnevale said.

“This man betrayed families and deceived a community in trust,” Carnevale added. “I assume all funeral directors are honorable. My family’s been hurt as well.”

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office had said previously Scatamacchia illegally kept $200,000 in payments from Rogers and Carnevale from 2010 to 2014 after Scatamacchia Funeral Home merged with the Monument Square business.

4 thoughts on “UPDATED: Scatamacchia Changes Plea; Sentenced to Year in Prison

  1. One thing for sure….. The residents of Haverhill don’t need Mr. Stickyfingers on the City Council, or in any other capacity in The City of Haverhill

  2. So if he ‘took” $244k, why does he only have to pay back $144k ?? Yes, people do “make mistakes” but this wasn’t a “mistake” it was purposefully planned with intent.