Funeral Industry News

Funeral Home Directors Lose Licenses over Plan to Sell Body Parts Without Consent

September 23, 2009

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Funeral Home Directors Lose Licenses over Plan to Sell Body Parts Without Consent

January 7, 2009 – Two Newark-area funeral directors agreed to turn in their mortuary science licenses after they were cited for planning to harvest body parts from corpses without getting proper consent, according to New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram.

Stephen K. Finley agreed to the revocation, and a permanent ban on applying or reapplying for a license to practice mortuary science in New Jersey, and $40,000 in civil penalties, Milgram announced today. She said the Essex County Prosecutor?s office is currently handling the criminal aspect of this case. Finley owns Berardinelli Forest Hill Memorial Home and Funeraria Santa Cruz, both in Newark.

Robert J. Maitner Jr. also agreed to a permanent revocation of his mortuary science license and a ban from any future involvement in or ownership of any aspect of the funeral director industry or funeral home business, Milgram said in today?s announcement. Maitner owned two Belleville businesses: Kiernan Funeral Home and Maitner Cremation Services, both of which closed, Milgram said. She added that Maitner pled guilty in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Kings, to attempted enterprise corruption, receiving a six-month prison sentence and five years of probation. Maitner paid $100,000 to settle a civil forfeiture claim.

An investigation revealed that from June 1, 2001 to Oct. 31, 2005 both funeral directors were involved in a scheme to harvest tissue from corpses without obtaining the proper consent, Milgram said, adding that the tissue was then allegedly sold and used in surgical procedures.

?The activities engaged in by these funeral directors were abhorrent, and violated common decency,? Milgram said. ?The permanent license revocations are appropriate, given their actions.?

Article Courtesy of: Martin C. Daks,