Gregory Stefan Jr. charged with fraud over .5 million tombstone sale

A 54-year-old man whose tombstone business has repeatedly run afoul of authorities has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he defrauded customers of more than $1.5 million, U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced Tuesday.

Gregory J. Stefan Jr. of Upper Merion was charged with seven counts of wire fraud and made his initial appearance Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jose R. Arteaga, Romero said. The grand jury indictment was handed up late last month.

Prosecutors allege that Stefan, through his businesses 1834 LLC and Colonial Memorials, defrauded nearly 500 customers out of more than $1.5 million for headstones that were never delivered, arrived late or had other problems, Romero said.

The indictment says Stefan demanded large advance payments from his customers, often 100% of the purchase price, but systematically failed to fulfill orders on the scheduled delivery date.

In December, Stefan Jr. was charged in Delaware with felony theft in connection with a headstone that was never delivered.

Stefan Jr. was also arrested and charged last year in Delaware County with 280 counts related to theft and deceptive trade practices.

The law firm representing Stefan Jr. declined to comment Tuesday.

In 2015, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office originally sued Gregory Stefan Sr. as the sole operator of Lifestone by Stefan LLC and Stefan Memorials Inc. The companies had been the subject of complaints dating back to at least 2010, according to the federal indictment.

The 2015 civil case ended with a settlement and an injunction, but former Attorney General Josh Shapiro accused Stefan Sr. of violating the terms of that settlement. That resulted in a judgment for more than $300,000 and an injunction barring Stefan Sr. from owning, managing or having any significant involvement in a business that provides or engraves headstones for consumers.

As the complaints persisted, the Attorney General’s Office filed a new lawsuit in 2021.

In January 2023, the Attorney General’s Office announced that it had reached a settlement with Gregory J. Stefan Sr., Gregory J. Stefan Jr., and Gerard Stefan, who were described as the owners of 1843 LLC.

The federal indictment says 1843 LLC was formed in 2016 with a registered office in Upper Darby, and that Stefan Jr. and his brother, identified by prosecutors only as “GS,” each owned 50 percent of the property.

Stefan Jr. ran day-to-day operations from 2016 until approximately March 2021, the indictment says. The company obtained its tombstones from a third-party vendor in Hillsborough, New Jersey.

According to the indictment, Stefan Jr. sold headstones at an average markup of 400 percent over cost.

In 2021, a Delaware County judge found that Stefan’s companies breached the original consent agreement. The federal indictment alleges that Stefan Jr. then “orchestrated the incorporation” of Colonial Memorials, a gravestone company in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

His wife was listed as president, but Stefan Jr. ran the business from 2021 until approximately September 2023, the indictment says.

Stefan Sr. had been in the tombstone business since the 1970s and over the years acquired other family-owned tombstone businesses, according to the indictment. Those other businesses continued to operate under their old names but were run by the Stefan family.