FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Brian Sinnett
October 16, 2017 District Attorney
Office (717) 337-9840
OAK LAWN CEMETERY OWNER JAMES DELANEY, JR. SENTENCED
Adams County District Attorney Brian Sinnett announced today that sentence was imposed upon James Delaney, Jr., 70, of Seven Valleys, York County, Pennsylvania as a result of his defrauding of nearly one thousand people regarding cemetery burials and merchandise related to them. The defendant was sentenced to two to seven years for Theft by Deception as a Felony of the Third Degree and a concurrent sentence of six to twelve months for Violation of Cemetery and Funeral Merchandise Trust, an ungraded misdemeanor offense that falls under the Pennsylvania Burial Ground Statute. Delaney was also ordered to pay what is believed to be a record amount of restitution for Adams County Court in excess of $2.2 million. Sentence was handed down by President Judge Michael A. George. Several victims appeared and provided comment by way of victim impact statements to Judge George in the presence of Delaney and his attorney, Aaron Holt, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Sinnett indicated that although the sentence imposed in this case by no way makes amends for the terrible betrayal of trust placed in the defendant by his hundreds of victims, it is in excess of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines for this offense and appropriate given that factor. Sinnett reiterated his concern for the circumstances that arose that enabled Delaney to get away with this fraud for so long with evidence of his theft-related intentions stemming back more than thirty years. Sinnett went on to indicate that he hopes that the Pennsylvania Legislature and the Department of State may work together to insure this never happens to another family in this Commonwealth again.
Sinnett went on to specifically thank the efforts of the Cumberland Township Police Department, specifically Lieutenant Timothy Guise and Detective Steven Higgs as well as Adams County Detectives Wade Lauer and Eric Beyer for their exhaustive investigative efforts in this case. Moreover, Cumberland Township Police should be commended for their efforts as an entire department in this case. Sinnett indicated that he is aware that the department was overrun with information and victims complaints when the investigation came to light in March of 2016. “Despite the voluminous information and victims, the Cumberland Township Police Department never shied away from their responsibility and conducted a first-class investigation which enabled us to bring forth this successful prosecution in this case.”
Finally, Sinnett indicated commendation was in order for the Adams County Victim Witness Department, specifically Director Cindy Keeney and her staff for a similar exhaustive effort in maintaining constant communication with the victims in this case despite the overwhelming number of them. Through Director Keeney’s leadership, many victims were able to secure restitution for their financial losses through the Pennsylvania Victims Compensation Fund which is paid for through court costs assessed to other criminal defendants and does not use tax dollars as a means of restitution.
Sinnett concluded by indicating that this was by far the most encompassing and voluminous number of victims ever compiled in one prosecution in Adams County. Without the support of our law enforcement partners as well as the Victim Witness Department and the Victims Compensation Board, this prosecution would have never been possible. Although the sentence imposed on Delaney will not bring immediate financial reimbursement to the victims for their terrible loss, Sinnett indicated he hoped it would allow them to move forward in some small measure to provide closure for them as a result of this terrible ordeal.