CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - At age 104 Marguerita Riske still lives on her own, and is sharp as a tack.
So sharp that she thought it would be a good idea to check on her prepaid funeral home plans before her 105th birthday in October.
“Because my husband died first, and he took care of my husband,” Riske tells 19 News.
The person under fire is 68-year-old Mark Kacirek, who spoke to us through the door of his North Olmsted home.
Authorities say while Kacirek was assuring Riske and 14 other clients their prepaid funerals were set, the reality is his funeral home had been out of business since 2009. He hadn’t even had a funeral director’s license since 2012.
Facts Riske was unaware of until a detective showed up at the door of her North Olmsted condominium.
“He told me Mark he did something very bad, you know? He took money from people. I didn’t know what to think. All I know is he told me I don’t have to worry. I’ll be well cared for when I die,” Riske said.
Kacirek is now being charged with theft, receiving stolen property and faces 18 months in prison. He doesn’t even deny what happened.
“It got co-mingled, and I’m apologizing and I’m sorry for that. It just happened. With the funeral home accounts. When the funeral home dissolved itself, it went to paying off other expenditures,” he said.
“What expenditures?” we asked. “I’m not quite certain yet. We’re looking into that,” Kacirek replied.
Another funeral home confirms it has stepped up and will honor Riske’s prepaid account.
Riske says she thought Mark Kacirek was an honorable guy.
“What would I say? Lock him up. I’d put him in jail and keep him there, “Riske says.
“How are you going to plead at your arraignment?” We asked Kacirek. “I don’t know. I haven’t got that far yet,” he replied.
Kacirek needs to figure that out pretty fast. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 4.