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Two funeral homes in body-parts scandal are shut down

Jun 10, 2006 | Philadelphia Inquirer

Two Philadelphia funeral directors who have been under investigation in a body-parts scandal have agreed to surrender their licenses, the Pennsylvania Department of State said yesterday.

Louis Garzone, of Louis Garzone Funeral Home in Kensington, and his brother, Gerald Garzone, of Garzone Funeral Home in Juniata Park, closed their funeral homes effective Wednesday, said Basil Merenda, commissioner of the department's Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs.

Over an 18-month period before September 2005, the two "may have permitted the removal of certain body parts, including bone and tissue from bodies [destined] to be buried or cremated," according to agreements they signed. Neither admitted wrongdoing, the State Department said.

Louis Garzone's funeral home has been linked to illegally sales of body parts and entire bodies to now-closed Biomedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee, N.J., the Philadelphia Daily News has reported. Merenda would not comment on whether Gerald Garzone's funeral home also allegedly sold body parts to Biomedical Tissue Services, saying he did not want to compromise the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office's criminal investigation of the two brothers.

A spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office could not be reached last night. Messages left for the Garzones and their attorneys were not returned late yesterday. A crematorium co-owned by the brothers, Liberty Cremation Inc., near the Kensington funeral home, was not affected, Merenda said.

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