Business owners feel betrayed after employees allegedly embezzle funds

WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A two-year long investigation has led to the arrest for a former Watervliet police chief for an alleged embezzlement scheme.

Officials have not said exactly how they believe two former employees at Parker Bros. Funeral Home stole thousands of dollars over a few years, but the funeral home’s lawyer said it has taken an emotional toll.

For more than 30 years, former Watervliet Police Chief Mark Fiet worked at Parker Bros. Funeral home where he eventually became the director.

“He was a trusted employee,” attorney Geroge LaMarche said.

LaMarche is the funeral home’s attorney. He said that trust was broken when Fiet allegedly embezzled thousands of dollars between 2011 and 2013. Police said Fiet had help from another longtime employee, 58-year-old Samuel Catalano. Catalano managed three Parker Bros. locations.

“It is very personal for them,” LaMarche said. “It’s very sad for them because this is a family business. The people that work for them are family. They consider them family, and the fact that they have violated the trust that Parker Bros. has placed in them is hurtful.”

Fiet turned himself in to Watervliet City Court on Thursday. He was charged with Grand Larceny and Falsifying Business Records. The 64-year-old refused to talk to NEWS10 ABC.

Catalano admitted to NEWS10 in August that he stole the money. He faces charges of Fraud and Tax Evasion. There wasn’t an answer at his home on Thursday.

“I would have to imagine it has a lot to do with greed,” LaMarche said.

LaMarche said customers were not impacted by the theft because the money that was allegedly taken belonged to the funeral home.

“The final amount has not been determined,” he said. “To the extent that there’s a way for Parker Bros. to be made whole for the losses that they’ve suffered. Hopefully, that will happen and hopefully, they can just move on from this.”

Fiet pled not guilty to all charges against him.

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