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Guilty plea in body-parts case

National Briefing / PENNSYLVANIA

August 30, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

A man who made millions of dollars by plundering funeral homes' bodies and selling the often-diseased parts to medical companies pleaded guilty to a raft of charges that could send him to prison for life.

Michael Mastromarino, 44, of Fort Lee, N.J., pleaded guilty to abusing corpses, forgery, theft and other allegations stemming from an operation that authorities say he ran with three Philadelphia funeral directors.

The scam also involved funeral homes in New York and New Jersey, prosecutors said.

The bodies, including that of "Masterpiece Theatre" host Alistair Cooke, were carved up without permission and sold around the country for dental implants, knee and hip replacements and other procedures.

About 10,000 people received tissue supplied by Mastromarino's company. Some say they have contracted diseases from tainted body parts.

Mastromarino previously pleaded guilty to similar charges in New York, where he was sentenced to 18 to 54 years in prison.

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