Victim of alleged memorial company scam speaks out

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MIAMISBURG, Ohio (WDTN) – One of the victims in the alleged American Memorial Monuments scam said the lawsuit filed in Montgomery County right now is at a standstill, and at this point, just wants her late husband’s tombstone.

READ MORE: Miami Twp. police investigating fraud at American Memorial Monuments

The building that housed American Memorial Monuments in Miamisburg is now a trucking company, but Sherry Barrett said the turmoil that the previous business owner put her family and many others through is still very real.

The Ohio Attorney General is seeking refunds of $50,000 from the gravestone business after 22 complaints were submitted to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Consumer Protection Section since October of 2017.

The complaints accuse the business of financial losses totaling $50,000.

Sherry’s husband Jerry passed away July 21, 2018, and she said just ten days later, she had the $3,000 tombstone that she personally designed paid in full.

“On our 50th wedding anniversary, we renewed our vows at church and a picture was taken of our hands, and our actual hands are to be on that tombstone,” said Barrett.

Barrett told 2NEWS she was treated very well by Darren Boykin, the accused scam artist, and was told it would be ready in November.

But after that, nothing.

“I was advised that it would be in, that it was done, but they wouldn’t be setting it until Spring,” said Barrett. “He said they didn’t like to set things when there was the possibility of cracking. I’ve since been told that that’s not true, it can be set at anytime.”

She said she has been in contact with Miami Township police and Boykin’s business partner who did not know he was victimizing people, and was told her gravestone is done and in Columbus, but that company could not release it because of the pending lawsuit and never receiving any money from Boykin.

Barrett said it is now at a standstill, and while she appreciates the Ohio Attorney General getting involved, it’s not about the money or even punishing Boykin.

She said on the anniversary of her husband’s death, she put in a temporary engraving that she just stuck in the ground, but said she just wants her family to be able to pay respects to her beloved husband.

“I have a difficult time trying to find out how people can do this to people at their moment of grief,” said Barrett. “I lost a husband of 55 years, he was my lifelong companion and I failed him in not having something there to memorialize him.”

The lawsuit was filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and argues that Boykin violated Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act by misleading customers and failing to provide refunds.

The filing seeks reimbursement for affected customers and orders the accused to pay civil penalties.

It also requests an injunction that would stop Boykin from running a business in Ohio for five years.

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