Guilty plea in body parts scheme

February 3, 2009 1:00:11 PM PST
A former New Jersey funeral director connected to a scheme to harvest body parts from corpses has admitted his role in the macabre ring. Stephen Finley pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single count of disturbing/desecrating human remains.

According to prosecutors, Finley allowed a team of "cutters" to illegally harvest parts from approximately 40 bodies without obtaining proper consent. For each body, Finley received approximately $1,000.

A message left for Finley's attorney was not returned Tuesday.

Finley owns Berardinelli Forest Hill Memorial Home, Cremation at a Low Cost, and Funeraria Santa Cruz in Newark. His funeral license was permanently revoked last month.

The scandal emerged in 2006 when ringleader Michael Mastromarino, who operated Biomedical Tissue Services, and others were accused of cutting up corpses in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The often-diseased parts were sold to medical companies for transplants.

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