Indiana man pleads guilty in exploitation case

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 FRANKFORT - Attorney General Jack Conway and Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine today announced that an Indiana man has pleaded guilty to 20 felony counts related to the selling of pre-need caskets, grave markers, and burial vaults to multiple Jefferson County residents.

Robert Kraft, 52, pleaded guilty on Monday to 11 counts of theft; one count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult; and eight counts of failure to put the money he received for pre-payment of funeral goods in a trust, which is required by law. Under Kentucky law, a vulnerable adult is an individual who, because of physical or mental dysfunction, is unable to protect themselves from neglect, financial exploitation, or abuse.

In 2013, General Conway’s Office of Consumer Protection received complaints about Kraft from family members of Jefferson County residents who had paid him for pre-need caskets, burial vaults, and grave markers. The family members stated that Kraft failed to produce caskets and other pre-paid goods when their loved ones died. The case was referred to the Office of the Attorney General’s Department of Criminal Investigations and was prosecuted jointly by General Conway’s Office of Special Prosecutions and Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine. 

“Mr. Kraft’s dishonest behavior caused additional grief and financial strain on many families who were already mourning the loss of a loved one,” General Conway said. “I am pleased Kraft is taking responsibility for his actions, and I appreciate the hard work of my investigators and prosecutors, who helped bring this case to a close.”

"The joint effort between the Office of the Attorney General and the Jefferson County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney produced a positive result in an otherwise emotionally trying and financially devastating crime committed against our citizens,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Wine said.

The trust violations and financial exploitation charge are class C felonies and each carries a penalty of five to 10 years in prison. The theft charges are class D felonies and each carries a penalty of one to five years in prison.

Robert Kraft’s sentencing is set for Aug. 19 in Jefferson Circuit Court, Division Two.