WSVN — A father and son are back in the funeral business tonight after previously coming under fire from the state. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is here with this special assignment report, “Dead Wrong.”
This is just one of Joe Damiano’s arrests, captured by 7News 14 years ago.
Damiano was also sued for supplying Lynn University with bodies for embalming classes. Family members of the dead said it was done without their knowledge.
Carmel Cafiero: “What do you have to say to the families of people who were embalmed without permission at Lynn University?”
Meanwhile, Damiano’s son Tony was also getting in trouble for his funeral industry companies. In 2001, Florida banned Tony Damiano from the funeral business for 10 years.
Now that the ban is over, the father and son are operating on the Internet. They’re behind Heritage Cremation Provider and Legacy Funeral Services, and again customers are complaining.
Kim Svercauski: “It’s like reliving her death over and over again.”
Kim Svercauski and her husband Edward live in Colorado and talked with us via Skype. They say Kim’s mom was living in Texas when she passed away, and they hired Heritage Cremation Provider. But neither Heritage nor Legacy Funeral services have crematories.
Customers say they subcontract the work.
Edward Svercauski: “When we received the bill, it was a lot more than we were told.”
They paid the bill, but say they couldn’t get the ashes for months.
Edward Svercauski: “The box they came in had been thrown around — beat up.”
Kim Svercauski: “Just for her to be so disrespected and mistreated, it just wasn’t right.”
Attorney David Charlip represents the Svercauskis and knows the Damianos. He successfully sued over the Lynn University embalming cases.
David Charlip, attorney: “I’ve always felt like they were lurking on the fringes of the funeral service business. This only confirms it.”
Charlip also represents Shawn and Annelei Farris. They live in Virginia, and also talked with us via Skype.
When her mom passed away, they say they found Heritage Cremation Provider online.
Shawn Farris: “I’m not ordering a big screen TV from these individuals. They’ve taken my mother-in-law’s remains. They promised us that they cremated them, and we have no proof.”
They say it took months to get the ashes.
Shawn Farris: “And the gentleman that owns the company, A.J., got very hostile with me on the phone.”
Tony’s full name is Anthony Joseph Damiano. It seems he is using his initials these days.
Florida, Tennessee and Oregon have all taken action or issued warnings about the Damiano companies.
Carmel Cafiero: “Hi Tony — A.J….”
He took off when we caught up with him outside a deli in Tamarac, but would have to come back to get his dad.
Carmel Cafiero: “So Tony, I’d like to talk to you. I’d like to talk to you about Heritage and Legacy.”
He was so anxious to get away, he drove off with his dad’s door still open.
With complaints mounting, this father and son could soon find themselves “dead wrong” on the wrong side of the law — again.
Carmel Cafiero, 7News.
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