Biomedical Tissue Services (BTS) proprietor Michael Mastromarino has been accused of stealing body parts from approximately 1,077 cadavers without relatives’ permission from more than 30 funeral homes. Mr. Mastromarino then sold the unscreened tissue for profits, and forged documents to cover his tracks. In February 2006, the Brooklyn District Attorney in a 122-count indictment charged Mastromarino and three additional workers.New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly stated in February 2006 that investigators had identified funeral homes in northern New Jersey, New York and one in Philadelphia had taken part in the body snatching. An ex- Biomedical Tissue worker told the Philadelphia Daily News in a February 2006 interview that he made approximately a dozen trips to the Louis Garzone Funeral Home in late 2004. During these trips, Kevin Vickers, the ex-Biomedical Tissue Services (BTS) worker said two to three bodies were harvested during each trip.
Authorities in New York have dug up more than a dozen bodies to verify that parts were illegally harvested. In some instances plastic hardware-store tubing would found as replacements to bones. It is believed that funeral home operators accepted money from the BioMedical Tissue Services (BTS) in exchange for ignoring obviously forged death certificates and consent forms. The body parts and tissue in question have been distributed throughout the country and used in thousands of operations.
Biomedical Tissue Services sold these illegal body parts to several large companies including Lifecell Corp., Regeneration Technologies, Inc., Tutogen Medical, Inc., SpinalGraft Technologies, LLC, Lost Mountain Tissue Bank and The Blood & Tissue Center of Central Texas. The FDA and most of the companies involved have not disclosed the number of patients that received the untested parts and tissue.
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