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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Funeral Homes Selling Body Parts

Prosecutors in New York have brought charges against four men alleged to have taken "organs from people who had not given consent or were too old to too sick to donate."

Prosecutors said Thursday the defendants made millions of dollars obtaining bodies from funeral parlors in three states and forging death certificates and organ donor consent forms to make it look as if the bones, skin, tendons, heart valves and other tissue were legally removed.

The indictment was the first set of charges to come out of a widening scandal involving scores of funeral homes and hundreds of bodies, including that of “Masterpiece Theatre” host Alistair Cooke, who died in 2004. The investigation has raised fears that some of the body parts could spread disease to transplant recipients. . . .

All four pleaded not guilty to charges of enterprise corruption, body stealing and opening graves, unlawful dissection, forgery and other counts. . . .

Nicelli was paid up to $1,000 per body to deliver corpses to a secret operating room at his funeral parlor, where Mastromarino would remove body parts, authorities said. Crucetta, a nurse, and Aldorasi allegedly helped Mastromarino.

Mastromarino made up to $7,000 a body by selling the tissue, authorities said, and the corpses were then returned to unsuspecting funeral directors for burial. . . .

Ben Barros

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