HARRISBURG A Schuylkill County funeral director was charged today following allegations that he forged life insurance documents by appointing his business as the owner and beneficiary of the policy.
Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane identified the defendant as Stephen Oravitz, 58, of 135 Brandonville Road, Ringtown. Oravitz is the owner of Oravitz Home for Funerals, at 40 North Jardin St., Shenandoah, which is also charged.
According to the criminal complaint, Oravitz submitted change of ownership and change of beneficiary forms to Mutual of Omaha in July of 2011, making the Oravitz Home for Funerals the new owner and beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
The charges state that the individual who owned the life insurance policy filed a complaint with the local police department and reported that she had never authorized any changes to her life insurance policy.
Kane said that the woman who owned the policy had dealt with the Oravitz Home for Funerals regarding her late husband's arrangements and allegedly provided Oravitz with a copy of the cover page of her own $10,000 life insurance policy for informational purposes while prearranging her own services.
The charges state that the woman also provided Oravitz with the name and telephone number of the beneficiary of the policy to assure that funds existed to provide for her future burial.
Agents from the Attorney General's Office emphasized that this is an ongoing investigation. Kane encourages anyone who has made funeral prearrangements and provided insurance information or documentation in support thereof to ensure that no changes have been made to their policy without their authorization. Anyone who believes that they were a victim or who has information regarding Stephen Oravitz is encouraged to contact Special Agent Doug Hilyard at (717) 787-0272.
Stephen Oravitz and the Oravitz Home for Funerals are both charged with two counts of forgery, one count of criminal attempt insurance fraud, and one count of criminal attempt theft by deception.
He was preliminarily arraigned before Shenandoah District Judge Anthony Kilker and released on $10,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 2.
The case will be prosecuted in Schuylkill County by Deputy Attorney General Kelley Nelson of the Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Section.