August 30, 2008 |
Selling illegally obtained body parts for use in implant surgery was a profitable fallback career for Michael Mastromarino, a North Jersey oral surgeon who had lost his license for drug offenses. But not profitable enough. Removing bones, skin and tendons from corpses was time-consuming and expensive: PVC pipe was needed to fill out the deboned limbs if there was a viewing. That all changed in early 2004, a city prosecutor said yesterday, when Mastromarino met three Philadelphia morticians who had just what he needed - a crematorium.
October 23, 2008 |
Louis and Gerald Garzone - brothers whose funeral homes served generations in Kensington - were each sentenced to 8 to 20 years in prison yesterday for illegally selling body parts for use in surgeries. As their families wept, Louis Garzone, 66, and Gerald Garzone, 48, calmly put their arms behind their backs as sheriff's deputies handcuffed them and led them away from Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn B. Bronson's courtroom. The Garzones pleaded guilty to selling 244 Philadelphia cadavers to Michael Mastromarino, a disgraced oral surgeon who owned Biomedical Tissue Services Inc., of Fort Lee, N.J., and paid the Garzones $1,000 a corpse.
November 15, 2007 |
The gruesome body-parts case - in which cadavers were allegedly chopped up and sold for body tissue used in surgeries - progressed from Municipal to Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia yesterday with the arraignment of five defendants accused in the scheme. The three local defendants in the case - brothers Louis and Gerald Garzone, and James A. McCafferty Jr. - appeared yesterday before Trial Commissioner Russell Joell, who set a pretrial conference date of Dec. 10. At this hearing, a judge will make decisions regarding the scheduling of the trial and other procedural issues.
April 30, 2008 |
Relatives of two Philadelphians whose remains were allegedly desecrated by a body-parts theft ring filed a lawsuit yesterday seeking damages for themselves and other victimized families. The complaint names alleged ringleader Michael Mastromarino, the owners and operators of two Philadelphia funeral homes and a cremation facility, and the firms that received the body parts for processing for transplantation. The families of Felicia Pancoast and James L. Bonner said neither they nor their deceased relatives had given permission for body parts to be harvested for medical use. Pancoast, 59, died Sept.
July 10, 2013 |
MICHAEL Mastromarino, the ringleader behind a ghoulish scheme to sell diseased tissue and bones that were harvested from corpses in Philadelphia and New York, died Sunday morning. A spokesman for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said Mastromarino, 49, was pronounced dead about 10 a.m. at St. Luke's Hospital in Orange County, N.Y. The cause of death appeared to be natural causes, the spokesman said. The New York Daily News reported that Mastromarino died from bone cancer.
August 14, 2008 |
A Philadelphia funeral director charged last year with being part of a multistate ring that sold stolen body parts for use in surgery pleaded guilty yesterday and agreed to cooperate in the upcoming trial of two other morticians. James A. McCafferty Jr. pleaded guilty to charges of participating in a corrupt organization, conspiracy, theft by deception, welfare fraud, recklessly endangering another person, and 244 counts of theft pertaining to the removal of body parts from cadavers without relatives' permission.
February 24, 2006 |
The trade in tissue and bones from cadavers has become a nearly $1 billion industry thanks to an aging population that wants to stay active and healthy. But in the booming business, serviced by about 200 for-profit and nonprofit tissue banks, the small, unaccredited operations far outnumber the ones vetted by an industry group. One of those independent tissue banks, Biomedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee, N.J., exploded on the scene last year with media reports that it had stolen tissue from bodies at a funeral home in Brooklyn, N.Y., then falsified paperwork to give the appearance of legal donations.
September 3, 2008 |
Elizabeth Sparagno literally shook with anger. First was the horror of her mother's murder almost four years ago: 84-year-old Marie Lindgren was beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled, left with a finger torn off, and nearly decapitated in her Kensington home by two teenage neighbors she used to treat to homemade cookies. Yesterday was the final indignity, as Sparagno listened to a Philadelphia prosecutor talk about how her mother might have been one of 244 Philadelphians dissected and sold as parts for surgical implants by Louis Garzone, the mortician she trusted in one of the darkest times of her life.
October 25, 2007 |
The five men accused of running a body-parts scheme - in which tissue from 244 Philadelphia cadavers was stolen - appeared in court yesterday on issues related to their bail and how quickly the case will go to trial. Common Pleas Court Judge Marsha H. Neifeld lowered bail from $4 million to $1.5 million for Lee Cruceta, 34, of New York City, a former nurse who is married and the father of four children. Cruceta, according to a Philadelphia grand-jury report, was the leader of a group that dismembered the bodies and sold the tissue.
October 6, 2007 |
A bail commissioner put a high price tag on the freedom of three Philadelphia funeral home directors accused of using their businesses to steal body parts for resale. Commissioner Francis Rebstock set bail Thursday night at $1 million each for Louis Garzone, 65, and his brother Gerald Garzone, 47, and at $500,000 for James A. McCafferty Jr., 37. The three men, along with two brokers of body parts, were charged Thursday with cutting bones, tissue, skin, tendons and other parts from 244 cadavers without family consent.