NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A former headstones dealer was sentenced in Norfolk Friday morning for the fourth and final time.
Edward Prince was convicted of taking money from clients and never delivering on what they ordered. He pleaded guilty to nine counts of felony fraud in the Norfolk case.
Carlena Porter was one of Prince’s nine victims. She and her husband paid Prince about $1,800 three years ago for a headstone for Porter’s father-in-law. The purchase was made at Prince’s Headstones Unlimited, located on West 24th Street before it closed. Porter testified Friday that despite repeated attempts to follow up, she never received the headstone nor any of her money back.
Porter said it was important that she get a chance to face Prince in court. “I tried to look him in the eye and he held his head down because he couldn’t face me.”
Prior to sentencing, defense attorney Daniel McNamara detailed Prince’s medical history including a spinal cord injury and brain surgery. He said Prince’s life of chronic pain and prescription medicine had spiraled out of control.
Prince apologized to his victims, saying he “regrets that his personal issues became your issues.”
However Norfolk Judge Joseph Migliozzi called Prince’s failure to provide the headstones his clients had purchased “intentional acts to generate income at people’s time of despair.” Migliozzi sentenced him to three years of active prison time, suspended an additional 24 years, and ordered Prince to make restitution of just over $17,000 to the nine victims.
McNamara says he was disappointed with the sentence, and that is was never his his client’s intention to prey upon people. McNamara told WAVY’s Chris Horne that Prince is asking for forgiveness from his victims, and plans to begin repaying them once he gets released.
Prince had stated in a previous trial that he would make restitution once he received an estimated $70,000 he claims he is owed by the Veterans Administration, but gave no specifics about when those funds would arrive. Prince’s attorney, sister and estranged wife described in court how he had spent nearly fourteen years in the navy as a submariner.