The Brooklyn DA's office has expanded its indictment of the men involved in an illegal tissue harvesting scheme. While the criminal counts stay, the new indictment says the men took bodies, cut them up and harvested organs, bones, and more from funeral homes in Manhattan, the Bronx, and upstate (the original charge was just in Brooklyn). Selling tissue or body parts is illegal, unless there is consent from the donor or next of kin, but the defendants in this case just seized the bodies and would sell parts. They used PVC pipes to replace bones so no one would notice at funerals and falsely claiming that tissue and organs had come from healthy bodies when the some of the deceased actually had cancer (one of the bodies harvested was that of Alistaire Cooke!). A harvested body can bring in $250,000 for that various tissue and organs.
The suspected ringleader, Michael Mastromarino, owned a Bensonhurst funeral home; the Brooklyn DA's office says he went into the funeral business after losing his dentist's license. Last Sunday, the Daily News published how they defendants would dismantle bodies, with one defendant saying, "It would take 45 minutes to take out the bones, then another 15 minutes for the skin, the upper arm, lower arm, thigh, abdominal area and more."