Monument Company Notifies Customers of Potential Bankruptcy
Published on August 14, 2023 on The Forum
New Jersey customers of a beleaguered monument company have received notice that the firm will not be able to fulfill its orders and is considering bankruptcy, a move which could leave those who have not received headstones out thousands of dollars each.
Colonial Memorials, which operates out of a Bridgewater address, mailed the form letters to its customers recently. One customer who contacted the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association said her family had paid more than $7,000 for a headstone in 2021 and fears now they will not receive the services for which they paid.
Another family said they conducted their business with Greg Stefan who identified himself as an owner of Colonial Monuments. Both a Gregory Stefan Sr. and a Gregory Stefan Jr. had been part of a lawsuit brought by the Pennsylvania attorney general against 1843 Memorials, a monument company the Stefans owned. Pennsylvania alleged that the Stefans took money from customers and didn’t deliver the promised headstones.
The initial legal action against the Stefans was in 2015. Gregory Stefan Sr. signed a consent order in 2018, prohibiting him from violating state consumer protection laws and mandating that he either refund customers or finish their headstones. The complaints against the Stefans numbered in the hundreds in Pennsylvania.
“They fail to produce a headstone or other memorial services that are promised, and instead the Stefan family pockets the money,” Josh Shapiro, who was then the attorney general and is now the governor of Pennsylvania, said in an article for WGAL.
The Pennsylvania attorney general said the Stefans also operated under several different names, including Colonial Memorials.
In its letter to customers, Colonial said that “has for the past two years been suffering significant financial losses and presently does not have the financial resources to fulfill your contract.”
“We have met with counsel regarding reorganization and/or bankruptcy proceedings but no decision has yet been made as to how the company should proceed,” the letter continued.
At least one customer has filed a complaint with the State Office of the Attorney General in New Jersey.