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Funeral Home Owner Faces Theft, Forgery, Fraud Charges

April 25, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marc Furber, 215.348.6339, mjfurber@buckscounty.org

David Faust(1)
     David W. Faust

The owner of a Bucks County funeral home surrendered yesterday on charges that he falsified death certificates by forging doctors’ signatures and collected more than $100,000 in Social Security disability benefits despite being able to work.

David Wayne Faust, 52, of Hulmeville, was arraigned on an array of felony and misdemeanor charges including theft by deception, forgery, tampering with public records, receiving stolen property, identity theft and insurance fraud.

Faust was released on $2,500 unsecured bail after a video arraignment before Magisterial District Judge Daniel Baranoski. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 10.

Faust is the owner of the Faust Funeral Home, 902 Bellevue Ave. in Penndel. During 2015 and 2016, according to the charges, Faust illegally filled in the names, titles, license numbers, addresses and signatures of seven different doctors on death certificates for seven people whose funerals were handled by his business.

The practice first was noticed by a local registrar. The registrar noticed that the signature of a doctor whose handwriting she was familiar with appeared distinctly different on a death certificate submitted by Faust, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The registrar found three other death certificates with inconsistent signatures from three other doctors, the affidavit says. Her discoveries were brought to the attention of the Pennsylvania Department of State, which notified the Bucks County Detectives.

County Detective Eric Landamia confirmed with each of the seven doctors that the writing attributed to them on the death certificates was not their own, and that the certificates were completed without their knowledge, authorization or consent, the affidavit says.

Pennsylvania law requires local registrars to transmit death certificates to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The certificates must be filed within 96 hours of a person’s death or the discovery of a dead body, and must be filed before a permit can be issued for cremation, burial or other disposition of the body. The funeral director or other person in charge of interment is responsible for filing the death certificate with the local registrar.

During the investigation, Faust told detectives that he long has suffered from injuries to his head, neck and shoulders, takes daily medication for pain, and receives full Social Security disability benefits, the affidavit says. That clashed with other statements made by Faust to investigators that he handles most of the duties at the funeral home.

Recent Social Security Administration records showed that Faust claimed to have been unable to work since Feb. 20, 2006 because of an injury to his head and neck, but that he continued to “fulfill my job requirements to the best of my ability,” according to the affidavit.

But in a Continuing Disability Review Report submitted in October 2015, Faust reported that he had not worked since the summer of 2013. In an earlier report, filed in May 2012, Faust had claimed his last day of work was in March 2012, the affidavit says.

Ultimately, Faust was awarded disability benefits retroactive to March 2011, and through January 2017 he had received benefits totaling $113,273.70, the affidavit says.

Despite Faust’s claim of being unable to work, records seized from his funeral home showed 298 client files for 2012 through August 2016, nearly all of them created and written by Faust, the probable cause affidavit says.

In an interview in November 2016 with Landamia and Social Security Administration Special Agent Theresa Bray, Faust acknowledged that he continued to perform a large amount of the work at the funeral home, and that he had continued to work there during the years he claimed to have been disabled, the affidavit says.

The case will be prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber, Chief of Insurance Fraud and Economic Crimes.

Approved for release by Daniel B. Sweeney, Chief of Prosecution.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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