From staff reports
A man who made millions of dollars by plundering hundreds of bodies sent to funeral homes and selling their parts and tissues to medical companies pleaded guilty Friday to multiple charges that could send him to prison for life.
Michael Mastromarino, 44, of Fort Lee, N.J., pleaded guilty to hundreds of counts of abusing corpses, forgery, theft and other allegations stemming from an operation authorities say he ran with three Philadelphia funeral directors.
About 10,000 people received tissue supplied by Mastromarino’s company, New Jersey-based Biomedical Tissue Services, authorities said.
In 2006, 30 patients at St. John’s Regional Medical Center and one from Freeman Hospital West were notified that they might have received a bone or tissue transplant that was not fully tested for use in transplant patients, and they had to be tested for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis.
The bones and tissues were harvested from hundreds of cadavers by Biomedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee, N.J. In many cases, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the families of the deceased did not know the tissues and bones were being harvested.
BTS sold its product to five companies. Two of the companies, Life Cell Corp., of New Jersey, and Regeneration Technologies, of Florida, provided bones and tissues to St. John’s and Freeman.
Mastromarino made millions of dollars off the scam, which also involved funeral homes in New York and New Jersey, prosecutors said. His attorney, A. Charles Peruto Jr., described the scheme as driven by greed — one that was hard to stop because it was so lucrative.
“You just keep taking the money,” Peruto said after the court hearing Friday.
The bodies, including that of “Masterpiece Theatre” host Alistair Cooke, were carved up without permission and were not medically screened. They were sold around the country for dental implants, knee and hip replacements and other procedures.
From staff reports
- Joplin Metro
Longtime Democrat dies at 81
Sapp, 81, died Thursday. Funeral services were Monday at the First Presbyterian Church of Joplin. A longtime Jasper County Democratic committeewoman and volunteer, Sapp for years was secretary to the county’s central committee.
Nixon visits Joplin to sign breast density bill
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation at Freeman Hospital on Tuesday that will require radiologists in Missouri to provide information about breast density on post-mammogram reports.
Defendant draws 10 years for assault of ex-girlfriend
A Jasper County judge today sentenced a rural Joplin man to 10 years in prison for an assault on an ex-girlfriend with a walking stick that left one of her eyes detached from its socket.
Rural Joplin child dies from gunshot wound to head
A 3-year-old girl died Monday at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Freeman Health Systems after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. The incident occurred at the child's home in rural Joplin, said Sheriff Ken Copeland.
Suspect in coach's slaying posts bond
Jeffrey Bruner posted bond shortly before noon today and was released from the Jasper County Jail in Carthage.
Downtown group warns about Third Thursday mail scam
Officials with the Downtown Joplin Alliance on Friday announced that a mail scam involving Third Thursday has been discovered.
PART TWO: Joplin City Council report documents continued
As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. Documents are converted for digital viewing.
The amount of documentation we received is extensive, and testimonies are continued here.
PART ONE: Joplin Globe receives copy of investigation named in court order
As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. As documents are converted for digital viewing, they will be uploaded here.
In City Council race, Joplin voters elect two newcomers, three incumbents
Joplin voters rejected two incumbents who voted to fire City Manager Mark Rohr, instead electing two newcomers and returning three incumbents to the City Council who had supported Rohr.
Joplin voters reject all three charter changes
The changes were placed on the ballot by the City Council acting upon recommendations by a Charter Review Commission that met last fall.
- More Joplin Metro Headlines
- Longtime Democrat dies at 81