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One district attorney called it ‘something out of a cheap horror movie’.

He’s referring to a case in which the owner of a biomedical supply house and 3 others have been charged with selling human body parts for use in transplants.

Investigators say the defendants earned millions of dollars forging death certificates and organ donor consent forms to make it look like the bones, skin, tendons, and heart valves they obtained from bodies from funeral homes had been obtained legally.

The case marks the first set of charges to emerge from a scandal involving hundreds of bodies, including that of ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ host Alistair Cooke, who died in 2004.

Some of the body parts could conceivably spread disease to transplant patients. The bodies reportedly came from funeral homes in New York City, Rochester, Philadelphia, and New Jersey that contracted with the Brooklyn funeral parlor for embalming.

The Food and Drug Administration recently closed Biomedical Tissue Services, noting that the company had failed to screen for contaminated tissue.

The FDA said patients who received the company’s products could have been exposed to disease, although the risk might be minimal.

[NY,, 5Mar06]