- - Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Funeral operator gets 8 months

HARTFORD | A Connecticut funeral home director was sentenced Tuesday to eight months in prison for stealing from people, including his dead clients whose homes were raided for money and other valuables.

Kevin Riley, who ran a funeral home in the small Connecticut town of Coventry, also was ordered to give up his professional licenses and scolded for preying on vulnerable people.

“You, Mr. Riley, yourself have to agree you lost your way. You took advantage of that position of trust,” Hartford Superior Court Judge David Gold said.

Authorities say Riley and a co-conspirator, Yolanda Faulkner, stole money, jewelry and paintings from the homes of dead people who had no relatives, after Riley had himself appointed administrator of their estates. Prosecutors say the two sold some of the goods at an auction house where Faulkner was the bookkeeper.

In a statement read to the court by his attorney, the 54-year-old Riley accepted responsibility for his actions.

“The mistakes that I made were to support my wife and my children,” he said.

Riley was charged after an investigation into his two businesses, the Coventry Funeral Home and Hartford Trade Services of East Hartford, and pleaded guilty in August to several larceny charges. Prosecutors initially sought a prison term of seven years, but his sentence was capped at two years by a plea agreement.


Piano found on Miami sandbar

MIAMI | A grand piano recently showed up on a sandbar in Miami’s Biscayne Bay, about 200 yards from condominiums on the shore.

The piano, which weighs at least 650 pounds, was placed at the highest spot along the sandbar so it doesn’t get underwater during high tide.

While officials aren’t sure how it got there, they know it won’t be going anywhere unless it becomes a hazard to wildlife or boaters.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino says the agency is not responsible for moving such items. And, he adds, unless it becomes a navigational hazard, the U.S. Coast Guard won’t get involved.

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