For Immediate Release - November 01, 2006

Massachusetts Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers

Announces Recent Enforcement Actions

The Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers ("Board") announces recent enforcement actions against the following licensees:

Joseph Ruggerio, East Boston: Ruggerio and the Board entered into a consent agreement in which Ruggerio's license was placed on probation for one year. Ruggerio admitted to using abusive language when speaking with a consumer. During his probation Ruggerio must attend anger management counseling.

Stephen J. Comeau, Clinton: Comeau and the Board entered into a consent agreement in which Comeau's license was suspended for 15 months. Upon completion of the suspension his license will be placed on probation for five years. Comeau admits that he entered into a contract with a family to put a notice of death in at least five newspapers, but only completed arrangements for one of the newspapers. In addition, Comeau failed to promptly deliver the cremated remains of the decedent. Comeau also failed to notify the Board of a criminal conviction to which he pled guilty in 1996.

Peter J. Starzyk, Chicopee: The Board has suspended the funeral directors and embalmers license of Starzyk for five years followed by a three year probation. The Board issued a final decision and order for these sanctions. Starzyk was found to have violated several Board regulations and statutes due to the unsanitary condition of his Chicopee Funeral Home. The Board also found that Starzyk failed to properly transfer a pre-need contract and obstructed a Board investigation.

Walter Philips, Bourne: The Board has revoked Philips license by default. Philips failed to respond, request an adjudicatory hearing, or otherwise defend himself in the following matters. Philips made arrangements with a family for a closed casket viewing but indicated that the body would be in the casket. The family requested to view the body but Philips refused this request. Also, Philips failed to inform the family in a timely fashion when he received the remains from the crematorium. In another incident he supplied an unedited copy of an obituary to several newspapers without the family's permission. Philips also failed to make arrangements for burial.

In addition to the consumer complaint driven actions above, the Board conducted several inspections throughout the Commonwealth of funeral homes and found the following establishments to be in violation:

Vertuccio Funeral Home, Revere: Six code violations were found during the inspection of the prep room resulting in a $600 fine.

Drozdal Funeral Home, North Hampton: Three code violations were found during the inspection of the prep room resulting in a $300 fine.

O'Brien Funeral Home, East Hampton: One code violation was found during the inspection of the prep room resulting in a $100 fine.

Rogers Funeral Home, Merrimac: Five code violations were found during the inspection of the prep room resulting in a $500 fine.

Frazier Funeral Home, Winthrop: One code violation was found during the inspection of the prep room resulting in a $100 fine.

Byron's Funeral Home, Springfield: Six code violations were found during the inspection of the prep room resulting in a $600 fine.

Consumers are urged to visit the Division of Professional Licensure's website at www.mass.gov/reg and select the "check a license" option to determine whether a professional they are considering doing business with is licensed and in good standing.

The Division of Professional Licensure ("DPL") is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for approximately 330,000 licensees across 43 trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 30 boards of registration.