Define That Term #47
Fourth Department Dismisses Claims Against Police

Body Parts, Cadavers and Rochester Ties, Oh My!

This article describes a criminal case involving hundreds of bodies that were looted for body parts without permission of surviving family members. 

Prosecutors claim that an oral surgeon who had lost his license, Michael Mastromarino, made millions of dollars by covertly carving up bodies at a Brooklyn funeral home and then sold the stolen body parts.  He teamed up with a mortician, Joseph Nicelli, who had embalming and cremation contracts in funeral homes in NYC, Rochester, Philadelphia and New Jersey.  According to the article:

Mastromarino, owner of Biomedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee, N.J., Joseph Nicelli, a Brooklyn mortician, and two other defendants, Lee Crucetta and Christopher Aldorasi, pleaded not guilty to charges including enterprise corruption, body stealing, opening graves, unlawful dissection and forgery. Each would face up to 25 years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.

The evidence against the defendants includes x-rays and photographs of the recently exhumed cadavers:

The images show that where leg bones should have been, someone had inserted white plastic pipes _ the kind used for home plumbing projects, available at any hardware store. The pipes were crudely reconnected to hip and ankle bones with screws before the legs were sewn back up.

There was apparently a "secret operating room" wherein the looting occurred:

Nicelli was paid up to $1,000 per body to deliver corpses to a secret second-floor operating room at his funeral parlor, where Mastromarino would remove bones, skin, tendons and other non-organ body parts, authorities said. Crucetta, a nurse, and Aldorasi allegedly helped Mastromarino cut up the bodies without the knowledge of the families.

I definitely see a future "Law and Order" episode based upon this scheme.


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Damin J. Toell, Esq.

I don't think there's any doubt that Law & Order will be filming an episode on this topic next week...


One (dead) man's garbage is another man's treasure.


"I don't think there's any doubt that Law & Order will be filming an episode on this topic next week..."

Was thinking the same thing. Pretty alaborate scheme they had going there. The online articles don't appear to show you the x-rays. Kinda wierd seeing an elbow pipe where a hip bone should have been. Hope the f**kers rot in HE!!.


I hardly think of my fathers body which was butchered and sold off as garbage!!Even after these swine took everything they could

Nicole Black

Descrated--I'm awfully sorry to hear that your father was one of the victims. What these men did was a horrible thing. Your family and your father absolutely deserved better.


Nicole, Thank you for your kind words. We very much appreciate them.This has been a very difficult time for us.My Godfather suffered a massive stroke after he heard what happened yesterdaynight.He did not treat it as a subject of humor like wdegraw

Nicole Black

Descrated-I'm sorry to hear about your Godfather, as well.

And, in wdegraw's defense, he's regular commenter here, a nice guy and a former prosecutor. I'm sure he meant no offense.

Lawyers are oftentimes faced with horrible, sad situations in the cases that we deal with, and the only way to deal with that sort of thing on a daily basis is to become a bit detached from the realities of a particular case.

And, for many, one way of dealing with a particularly awful case is to inject some humor into the situation. I realize it may come off as a bit callous, but I'm pretty sure that wdegraw would not have made that comment, had he envisioned that a relative of one of the victims would stumble upon that post in this legal blog.

In any event, I'm so sorry to hear that you're faced with such a sad and tragic situation. I hope that your family is able to stay strong.


I'm sure "desecrated", if s/he is a real person, never made a joke that could hurt someone else's feelings. We are talking about a dentist grave robber. Terrible for the victims, I am sure. But taking offense to a witty comment by WDegraw is firing at the wrong ship! Talk to Mike the dentist...


I am a real person who does not refer to other peoples dead relatives as garbage or condone the same.Nor would I make such callous jokes regarding someones loved ones. Witty? While certainly not on the same scale,do you find Auschwitz jokes funny too? Or try to defend them to relatives of victims?


I am sorry to hear of your troubles but you should have read the comment more carefully, it would have spared you some distress. Degraw didn't call anybody garbage.

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