A New Castle woman said she had paid for a headstone for her sister’s grave, but it was never placed.
Now the Neshannock Township businessman who sold it is facing charges, accused of having reneged on deals with her and seven other customers.
Neshannock police charged William Chill, owner of Chill Memorials, with multiple felony charges for allegedly not making good on his sales.
Linda Farris claimed she bought the stone in October 2010. Another of the alleged victims, a company called Custom Designs, paid Chill $35,659 for contract services he did not complete, which included work for several of the customers.
According to Farris, her sister died in May 2010 and she paid $575 for a headstone that fall. Chill told her he would install the stone in the spring at SS. Philip and James Cemetery.
“When I called him in the spring, he said it was too rainy.”
Summer and fall passed and the stone still wasn’t there. She called again and he said he was getting caught up, Farris recounted.
She checked this spring “and it’s still not there.”
When Farris called his home and business, she said, the numbers had been disconnected. She said she had heard other people were filing reports with the police, so she followed suit.
Farris said she had bought monuments from Chill in the late 1980s and early 1990s for other family members and never had a problem.
“I either want him to give me the headstone or give me my money back. I’d be happy with either” in lieu of pursuing charges against him, she said.
Some people paid more than Farris, for bigger monuments.
One alleged victim told police she had paid Chill Monuments a total of $3,000 in July 2010, and still hasn’t received a headstone.
She said she has tried to call Chill and left notes on his door, but the business appears to be closed.
The amount being claimed by the eight alleged victims is about $46,000.
Marlene and Charles Stoddard of Pulaski said they paid $2,053 for a husband-wife monument for their future graves, and it included the cost of digging the footer at St. Mary Cemetery.
“It was to have been done immediately and it never was done,” she said.
The monument was made, the Stoddards learned, adding it had ended up in Kittanning with whoever had foreclosed on the Chill business.
“At least we got ours,” she said. “There are a lot of people who didn’t get theirs.”
Marlene Stoddard said a friend who owns another monument business in town went to Kittanning and picked up the stone for them.
“We’ve got it back here, but we’re still out the money for the foundation,” her husband noted.
The Stoddards claim the foundation and setting fee, $403, is how much is owed to them.
Chill is charged with four felony counts and three misdemeanor counts of deceptive or fraudulent business practices.
A warrant has been issued for his arrest.