Colorado funeral home director pleads guilty to selling body parts

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A The operator of a Colorado funeral home pleaded guilty on Tuesday to filing fraud charges for selling body parts of corpses while giving customers fake ashes.

Megan Hess, 45, who operated Sunset Mesa Funeral Home, faces up to 20 years behind bars for mail fraud. Prosecutors agreed to drop five additional counts of mail fraud and three counts of transporting hazardous materials against her as part of the settlement, the Daily Sentinel reported.

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“I’ve exceeded the scope of consent, and I’m trying to make an effort to fix it,” she said during a federal court appearance, according to the outlet.

Hess offered low rates to lure customers into her business so she could sell cadaver body parts for research between 2010 and 2018, according to court documents. She confessed to committing the crime in court.

In 2020, Hess was indicted alongside her mother, Shirley Koch, by a grand jury over the alleged scheme, which included forging signatures on key documents and deceiving families about how the deceased would be treated at the salon. funeral.

They harvested heads, arms, legs and more from the corpses and gave families the ashes of several other corpses while charging $1,000 for cremations, Fox Business reported. In exchange for body donations, they also offered free cremations, the outlet added.

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The duo sold bodies and body parts infected with infectious diseases, such as HIV, despite telling buyers the corpses were disease-free, prosecutors said, according to the Associated press.

Hess is expected to be sentenced in January, and prosecutors have recommended that she face 12 to 15 years in prison. Koch is scheduled to attend a plea change hearing on July 12. Hess and Koch initially pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Hess is on bail.

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