A.G. Schneiderman Secures Court Order Directing Relief For Pet Owners Defrauded By Unlicensed Abbingdon Hill Pet Cemetery

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

May 3, 2018

Attorney General’s Press Office / 212-416-8060
Twitter: @AGSchneiderman


Court Order Dissolves Abbingdon Hill Pet Cemetery, Transfers All Assets and Property to New Not-For-Profit Corporation Formed By Pet Owners to Keep Cemetery Open

ORANGE COUNTY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office secured a court order granting restitution for pet owners affected by the fraudulent practices of Abbingdon Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory, Inc. in Montgomery, NY — after the cemetery continued to operate while unlicensed and collect fees from consumers without providing the services offered such as maintenance, burials, and cremations. The Attorney General also secured the dissolution of the pet cemetery corporation and property transfer to a new not-for-profit corporation formed by pet owners to ensure all animals may remain in the cemetery. 

“Consumers should be able to trust that businesses will provide the services for which they’ve paid,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This court order secures relief to the consumers affected, while transferring the property to a new not-for-profit to ensure continuity for families with pets buried at the cemetery. My office is committed to protecting New Yorkers from deceptive business practices wherever they occur.”

The Abbingdon Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory, Inc., located in Montgomery, NY, began operating in 1980 as one of the larger pet cemeteries in the state. In November 2017, Abbingdon Hill’s license to operate a pet cemetery expired and it was not renewed. In violation of state law, Ray Fodera, the corporation’s vice president and cemetery caretaker, continued to operate the cemetery, collect fees, and conduct burials and cremations – despite being unlicensed.

In March 2018, the Attorney General’s office received complaints from pet owners regarding the poor physical condition of the Abbington Hill Pet cemetery. The pet owners also complained that Mr. Fodera was not returning their calls and was failing to provide them with services they had paid for in advance such as burials, cremations, and perpetual care. The Office of the Attorney General does not regulate pet cemeteries; however given apparent deceptive practices, the office was able to open a consumer investigation. 

The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that in or about November 2016, Orange County seized the cemetery’s 15-acre parcel located at 148 Youngblood Road, Montgomery, for non-payment of taxes. On April 27, 2017, the parcel was purchased by Ahmad Reyaz at a county tax lien sale. The Attorney General’s investigation determined that Mr. Reyaz was unaware at the time of purchase that the property was dedicated as a pet cemetery. Further investigation revealed that, despite being unlicensed and no longer owning the land on which the cemetery was located, as late as February 2018, Mr. Fedora continued to accept fees from unsuspecting pet owners for yearly maintenance, burials, and cremations.

On March 26, 2018, the Attorney General’s Office was granted a temporary order enjoining the Abbingdon Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory, Inc. from continuing to operate or remove funds from its bank accounts and authorizing the Attorney General’s office to seize all records and property of the corporation. This week, a permanent order was secured – granting judicial dissolution of the Abbingdon Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory, Inc., and directing restitution to aggrieved pet owners, as well as civil penalties and costs to the State of New York for repeated violations of GBL Sections 750-k and 350-d, from any remaining corporate assets. 

In addition, the court order provides that, upon application to and approval by the Attorney General’s Office, all assets and property of the Abbingdon Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory, Inc. shall be transferred to a newly formed not-for-profit corporation that will operate as a pet cemetery on the same property. Mr. Reyaz has agreed to donate the property to the new not-for-profit corporation.

This order ensures that pets can remain where they are and that the pet cemetery will continue to operate. Any remaining assets and property of the Abbingdon Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory will be used to pay restitution to aggrieved pet owners and to serve the purposes of the new not-for-profit corporation. 

This matter was investigated and handled by Investigators Stephanie Brideau and Adrienne DeGaetano, and Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Poughkeepsie Regional Office Jill F. Faber.