NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The former owner of a headstone business pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to defrauding several customers.
Edward Prince, 55, has now been convicted of fraud in four different cities in Hampton Roads. Prince pleaded guilty to accepting money from nine Norfolk customers, totaling more than $17,000.
Carlena Porter and her husband signed papers to purchase a headstone from Prince in July 2013. “We gave him $1,800 right then for the headstone so he could order it.”
After several weeks went by with no headstone, Porter says Prince began giving her evasive answers. “He would give me excuses that the truck was stuck up North in the snow, just different excuses that didn’t make sense.”
Prince will be sentenced in Norfolk in April, and also faces sentencing in Chesapeake later this month. He is already serving fourteen months after a conviction last month in Virginia Beach, so he appeared in Norfolk court Wednesday in handcuffs and a prison uniform. It was the first time Porter had seen Prince since paying him for a headstone she never received.
She says she is happy to see some measure of justice, but doubts she’ll ever get her money back. “It won’t happen,” Porter said. “He’ll end up going back to jail for not making restitution.”
In the Virginia Beach case, Prince was ordered to make restitution of more than $9,600 to three victims. He told the judge that he is owed money by the Veterans Administration, and that will enable him to reimburse his victims.
It was unclear though when Prince would receive those funds.