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Thread: FBI shines light on now shut down "human chop shop" in Phoenix

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    FBI shines light on now shut down "human chop shop" in Phoenix

    https://www.abc15.com/news/crime/fbi...hop-in-phoenix

    PHOENIX ? Several years have passed since Biological Resource Center shut its doors, but new court documents detail the hidden horrors investigators found inside.

    Former FBI Assistant Special Agent Mark Cwynar's testimony says he observed buckets of head, arms and legs inside the building off 24th street and University Drive.

    Cwynar also said he saw a cooler filled with male genitalia, body parts piled on top of each other with no apparent identification to indicate what bodies they came from, even a torso "with the head removed and replaced with a similar head sewn together in a Frankenstein manner."

    The Federal Bureau of Investigations raided the Phoenix based body-donor facility in 2014, after allegations that the company was selling parts of those donated bodies for profit.

    At least eight families say they donated their loved ones bodies to the facility for medical research, but are now suing the company and its owner, Stephen Gore, for mishandling their corpses, and failing to meet the promises made in their consent forms.

    Gore pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to probation.

    Gore will appear in court in October to face several Arizona families who've filed civil suits against him and BRC.

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    https://patch.com/arizona/phoenix/co...broker-horrors

    PHOENIX, AZ — New court documents detail the grisly scene federal agents found when they raided a body-donor facility in Phoenix in 2014: a "Frankenstein" head, a bucket full of arms, legs and heads, and a cooler filled with penises.

    The FBI raided the now-shuttered Biological Resource Center after getting a tip the owner, Stephen Gore, was selling donated body parts for profit. Gore has already been charged criminally and sentenced, but now 33 families who donated their loved ones' bodies have filed a civil lawsuit against him in Maricopa County Superior Court.

    The families accuse Gore of obtaining the body parts through false pretenses, of selling them as whole cadavers or dismembered parts to various entities through middlemen, and of storing, treating and disposing of the bodies in a manner that lacked the dignity their loved ones deserved.

    Gore, whose business specialized in providing donated human bodies, organs and tissues to medical schools both in the United States and abroad, admitted to the elements of the civil lawsuit in his 2015 criminal case. He said he sold body parts that had been willed to science to medical researchers, medical equipment developers and pharmaceutical companies. Investigators said he knew many of the body parts were infectious or diseased before they were improperly packaged, transported and sold to the unsuspecting buyers.

    In a declaration included in the civil lawsuit, former FBI Assistant Special Agent Mark Cwynar said he "personally observed various unsettling scenes" inside the Biological Resource Center, located off 24th Street and University Drive.

    Besides the cooler filled with male genitalia and the bucket of limbs were a "large torso with the head removed and replaced with a smaller head sewn together in a 'Frankenstein' manner' " and a pile of body parts that weren't properly tagged to identify the person whose body was donated, according to a report by news station KNXV.

    The sale of donated body parts was a lucrative business, according to court documents cited by the Arizona Republic. A fully intact body sold for about $6,000, while one without shoulders or a head fetched $2,900. The price of a whole spine was $950. A leg ran about $1,100. Knees and feet were priced at about $375 and $450 a pop, respectively. The price on a pelvis was $400.

    The criminal case against Gore, which was part of a nationwide investigation into the black-market body parts brokering business, prompted Arizona lawmakers to pass a law in 2017 requiring licensure of body donation businesses. However, the Republic said the law hasn't been implemented or enforced.

    Four body donation companies are currently doing business in Arizona, and each is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks, the newspaper said.

    The civil lawsuit against Gore is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 21.

    In 2015, he pleaded guilty to a state charge of conducting an illegal enterprise and was given a 12-month suspended sentence and 48 months of probation. He was also ordered to pay $122,000 in restitution.

    At the time, he wrote in a letter to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville that there were no formal regulations to guide him in his business, and that he "should have hired a medical director rather than relying on medical knowledge from books on the internet."

    He also admitted that he could have been more open about the donation process in a brochure.

    His arrest in 2014 was part of a nationwide investigation of black-market body part businesses that included raids in Detroit and Chicago.

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    https://www.azcentral.com/story/news...ny/1720254001/

    A head sewn onto a mismatched body, a bucket of limbs and a cooler filled with penises are among items found by FBI agents during a raid on a Phoenix body-donation business.

    The now-shuttered, for-profit Biological Resource Center specialized in accepting the bodies of people after they had died, and in exchange offering their families free pickup of the bodies plus the cremated remains of the body parts the company did not sell.

    Arizona is a regulatory-free zone for the body-parts industry. At least four body donation companies are operating in Arizona, in addition to a non-profit cryonics company that freezes people after they die with the intent of one day bringing them back to life.

    An FBI special agent, during a January 2014 raid of the Biological Resource Center, stumbled on what he described as "various unsettling scenes." The agent's grisly eyewitness account of the raid was recently revealed in a civil lawsuit against the business and its owner, Stephen Gore. The case is set for trial Oct. 21 in Maricopa County Superior Court.


    Thirty-three plaintiffs have sued the Biological Resource Center, saying the remains of their family members were obtained through "false statements," that body parts were being sold for profit to various middlemen, and that they were not stored, treated or disposed of with dignity or respect.

    Reacting to the Biological Resource Center case, Arizona passed a law in 2017 that says body donation companies are not allowed without a state license. However, the law has not yet been implemented or enforced.

    All four body donation companies known to be operating in Arizona are accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks, which the Biological Resource Center was not.

    The Phoenix company was raided after a nationwide criminal investigation.

    Efforts to reach Gore, who is listed in court filings as representing himself in the civil action, were unsuccessful.

    For more stories that matter, subscribe to azcentral.com.

    'Frankenstein' head observed
    In his declaration contained in the civil lawsuit's court file, former Phoenix FBI special agent Mark Cwynar said he "personally observed various unsettling scenes" while inside Biological Resource Center.

    Many of the body parts he saw were piled on top of one another with no apparent identification to indicate what bodies they came from or to whom they belonged, he said.

    In addition to a "cooler filled with male genitalia," Cwynar testified that he also saw a "large torso with the head removed and replaced with a smaller head sewn together in a 'Frankenstein' manner."

    Cwynar said he saw:

    Large male torsos with limbs and genitalia removed.
    Buckets and coolers with various body parts, including a bucket of heads, arms and legs.
    Body parts piled on top of each other throughout the facility, with no apparent identification.
    Steel freezers with frozen body parts inside with no apparent identification.
    BY COMPARISONS.ORG
    New Rule in Vallejo, CA
    See more →


    Court documents included a report from two experts for the plaintiffs that referred to a 2013 request to use at least two Biological Resource Center bodies for the purpose of "plastination for education." The experts said plastination, which is a way of preserving entire human bodies, should require separate consent because the preservation is more permanent and the bodies are often publicly displayed.

    In October 2015, Gore tearfully pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal enterprise after accusations that he had provided vendors with contaminated human tissue and used body parts in ways that the donors had not permitted.

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    https://www.azcentral.com/story/news...ny/1720254001/

    In a letter to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville before his December 2015 sentencing, Gore wrote that he felt overwhelmed, but that he was working in an industry with "no formal regulations" to reference for guidance.


    In 2016, HB 2307, which requires regulation of the body donation industry, was signed into law. The bill was revised in 2017 but never implemented. Arizona Republic

    SEE ALSO: Despite state law, body donation industry still unregulated

    "I could have been more open about the process of donation on the brochure we put in public view," Gore wrote. "When deciding which donors could be eligible to donate, I should have hired a medical director rather than relying on medical knowledge from books or the internet."

    Research by plaintiffs' lawyers says Gore's highest level of education was high school, and that he did not have any licenses or certifications applicable to body donation program operations.

    MORE: 5 things you need to know before donating your body to science

    Torso with head: $2,400
    The Biological Resource Center was a for-profit body donation company that accepted donations of bodies after people died. The company gave donors and their families free transportation services to pick up the body, plus free cremation.

    One of the problems is that some families thought that a body "donation" meant their loved ones' bodies were being given to a charity to help with disease research. Some mistakenly thought the Biological Resource Center would be donating their loved ones' organs, not knowing that organ donation and body donation are not the same thing.

    Not all were aware the Biological Resource Center often dismembered and sold various body parts.

    A 2013 price list that is part of the court file indicates sale prices for body parts:

    Whole body with no shoulders or head: $2,900.
    Torso with head: $2,400.
    Whole spine: $950.
    Whole leg: $1,100.
    Whole foot: $450.
    Knee: $375.
    Pelvis: $400.
    Damn this reminds me of the Michael Mastromarino case.

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    dismembered and sold various body parts.
    To whom exactly?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlawrence View Post
    To whom exactly?
    https://www.icij.org/blog/2019/02/fr...-human-tissue/

    Well One has to look at the Michael MastroMarino Scandal. to understand how this works.

    From the Archives: How body brokers profited from stolen human tissue
    Last year’s Implant Files investigation wasn’t the first time we tackled the medical industry. Back in 2012, our Skin and Bone investigation examined the global market for body parts taken from cadavers.

    One story revealed the lengths Michael Mastromarino, a human tissue trafficking ring leader, took to steal body parts without detection.

    Mastromarino opened his own human tissue recovery company after losing his license to work as a dentist.

    It was an easy process and after filling out a form from the U.S. regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, he began supplying body parts. The FDA didn’t even inspect his facilities.

    In a 2003 case, Mastromarino removed tissue from a corpse after a couple’s murder-suicide and lied about the cause of death. He then faked forms saying the perpetrator’s family consented to the donation. In a separate case, he stole the bones of renowned broadcast journalist, Alistair Cooke.

    He also tried to break into the established cadaver market in the former Soviet republics. He flew to Kyrgyzstan and met with a prison official who offered him the bodies of executed inmates. But the FDA wouldn’t accept the tissue from these bodies because of the risk of contamination with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fatal neurological condition akin to Mad Cow disease.

    Recommended reading

    FDA Warns Against Tainted Human Body Parts

    Body Brokers Leave Trail of Questions, Corruption

    Video: Skin and Bone
    When he spoke to us in 2012, he framed the work in market-terms: “This is an industry. It’s a commodity. Like flour on the commodity exchange. It’s no different. I cut some corners. But I knew where I could cut corners. We were providing a fantastic product.”

    Mastromarino was only a ground-level actor in the global industry. Our Skin and Bone investigation revealed how tissue was harvested, processed, turned into usable implants and then distributed through hospitals and billion-dollar medical companies, such as Zimmer Biomet.

    Recycled human parts are necessary for certain life-saving medical procedures, like when a skin graft is taken from a cadaver, sterilized and used on severe burn patients. Some cosmetic procedures also call for the use of human tissue, like wrinkle-fillers or penis enlargements.

    In this graphic, we listed some medical uses of recycled tissue — it’s more common than you might think, as human products are often sold under the term ‘allograft.’

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    https://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/ra...n-style-corpse


    When federal agents raided an Arizona body donation center in 2014, they made a series of bizarre and disturbing finds: a cooler filled with severed genitalia, a severed head sewn on to another body, and other medical atrocities.

    FBI special agent Mark Cwynar described "various unsettling scenes" during the raid of the for-profit Biological Resource Center in Phoenix, Arizona, a facility that sold body parts and offered services to dispose of corpses. The discoveries are now being revealed as part of a civil suit filed against the business and its owner, the appropriately named Stephen Gore.

    Cwynar said that he observed bodies piled on top of each other with no proper identification or indication of who they belonged to. Amongst the heaps, Cwynar said he found buckets containing severed limbs and heads, a "cooler filled with male genitalia," and a "large torso with the head removed and replaced with a smaller head sewn together in a 'Frankenstein' manner," according to AZ Central.

    Thirty-three plaintiffs have accused the Biological Resource Center of not treating the corpses in their care with dignity or respect. The suit also alleges that the facility obtained the bodies through "false statements" and that body parts were sold through various middlemen. Many families believed their loved ones' organs would be donated for research, unaware that organ donation and body donation are not the same thing and that the corpses would be dismembered and sold piecemeal for profit.

    “This is a horror story. It’s just unbelievable! This story is unbelievable,” plaintiff Troy Harp told AZ Family. Harp had believed his mother's and grandmother's bodies, which he had surrendered to the Biological Resource Center in 2012 and 2013, would be used for scientific purposes.

    “Cancer, and leukemia and whatever else, using sample cells," said Harp. "That’s what I was told."

    The Biological Resource Center had been selling "whole bodies with no shoulders or head" for $2,900, according to a price list included in court documents cited by AZ Central. A torso with a head would cost $2,400, a spine cost $940, and a whole leg cost $1,100. Feet, knees, and pelvises all sold for less than $1000.

    Arizona has few regulations governing the body-part industry. Four major body donation businesses operate throughout the state, alongside at least one company that specializes in freezing corpses in the hopes of eventually reanimating them.

    The Biological Resource Center had been operating without accreditation by the American Association of Tissue Banks. In the wake of the discoveries of this case, Arizona passed a law in 2017 that prevented body donation centers from operating without a license, however the law has not yet been enacted and therefore can not be enforced.

    Gore pleaded guilty in 2015 to operating an illegal enterprise after being accused of selling contaminated human tissue and of using the bodies in ways that had not been consented to, according to KNXV of Phoenix, Arizona. He was sentenced to probation.

    Gore had written in a letter to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville before his December sentencing that he was overwhelmed by operating a business that had "no formal regulations."

    "I could have been more open about the process of donation on the brochure we put in public view," Gore wrote, according to AZ Central. "When deciding which donors could be eligible to donate, I should have hired a medical director rather than relying on medical knowledge from books or the internet."

    Gore has no expertise in the medical field and is not believed to have been educated beyond high school.

    Gore will appear in court again in October.
    Damn Stephen Gore is not a medical expert. But he cause many families to wonder what happened to their deceased loved ones and how were they mistreated at death.

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    PHOENIX (KPHO/KTVK/CNN) – Gruesome details have been released in a lawsuit against a body donation and tissue bank facility in Phoenix, Arizona.


    Testimony was released about the condition of an Arizona body donation center during a 2014 FBI raid. (Source: KPHO/KTVK/CNN)
    The FBI raided the Biological Resource Center (BRC) as part of a human body parts trafficking investigation in 2014.

    Agents found buckets full of body parts and different people sewn together and hung up on a wall, according to testimony by one of the agents.

    "This is a horror story. It's just unbelievable. This story is unbelievable," said Troy Harp, who donated the bodies of his mother and grandmother to the facility in 2012 and 2013.

    Harp, one of more than 30 plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the BRC, donated the bodies with the understanding that they would be used for scientific purposes.

    "Cancer, and leukemia and whatever else, using sample cells, that's what I was told," he said.
    But that's not what happened.

    In 2014, the FBI raided the facility in hazmat suits as part of a multi-state investigation into the illegal trafficking and sale of human body parts.

    For the first time, we're now able to see the testimony from one of the FBI agents who conducted the raid.


    The agent said he found a "cooler filled with male genitalia," "a bucket of heads, arms and legs," "infected heads," and a small woman's head sewn onto a large male torso "like Frankenstein" hanging up on the wall, which is called a "morbid joke" in the lawsuit.

    "Who in their right mind?" Harp said. "It's absolutely gross."

    The lawsuit says the bodies were cut up with chain saws and band saws.

    "Tools that are not appropriate for dismembering scientific bodies," Harp said.

    The lawsuit also says "pools of human blood and bodily fluids were found on the floor of the freezer," and that there were bodies with no identification tags.

    Harp said his mother's ashes showed up by mail on his doorstep shortly after the raid, but he isn't even sure they're her ashes.

    He said his mother and grandmother wanted to help medical research after their deaths, yet he doesn't believe they ever made it out of the BRC building.

    When asked if he feels like he's ever gotten closure, Harp said: "No, this is open, and I don't think I ever will."

    BRC owner Stephen Gore was sentenced to one year of deferred jail time and four years of probation after he pleaded guilty to illegal control of an enterprise.
    https://www.kktv.com/content/news/513156582.html

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    https://lawandcrime.com/crazy/womans...t-tissue-bank/

    The scene at a now-defunct tissue bank in Arizona was a “horror story,” says one of the plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit.

    “This is a horror story,” plaintiff Troy Harp told KPHO. “It’s just unbelievable. This story is unbelievable.”

    ADVERTISING

    inRead invented by Teads
    He donated his late mother and grandmother to the Biological Resource Center, thinking their remains would be used to research ways to fight cancer and other maladies. But when FBI agents raided the scene in 2014, they discovered the kind of environment usually seen in films.

    An FBI agent claimed to find a cooler containing “male genitalia,” a bucket full of heads, arms, and legs, “inflected heads,” and a woman’s head sewn onto a man’s torso “like Frankenstein.” For all intents and purposes, that tissue bank is gone. It sank as a result of an investigation into the illegal trafficking and sale of human body parts.

    Family members in the surrounding criminal cases and lawsuit said the bodies of their loved ones were mishandled, and that even if they got their loved ones’ ashes as expected, they’re not even sure that those remains are the correct ones.


    In 2015, Stephen Gore, the owner of Biological Resource Center, got a deferred prison sentence and four years on probation, and was ordered to pay restitution, according to Fox 10 Phoenix. He had pleaded guilty to illegal control of a criminal enterprise. He admitted that that BRC trafficked in contaminated remains, and used bodies in manners that contradicted the person’s requests.

    “I’m not here to offer any excuses,” he said at his sentencing. “There were mistakes made. However, they were never for a financial gain. The mistakes that were made were done, in my opinion, in the best interest for what we thought the donors and their families,” he added.

    Lawsuit records don’t name an attorney. Gore could not be reached for comment as of press time. His lawyer in the criminal matter didn’t immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.

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    https://www.wxyz.com/news/region/det...r-268-families

    There is an investigation over the same allegations in Detroit over how dead bodies were handled and its related to the Arizona allegations.

    DETROIT (WXYZ) — John Butsch came to Detroit from Chicago seeking justice for himself, and he says there are 268 families whose loved ones are tied up in a cadaver dealer fraud case in Federal Court.

    Judge Paul Borman is keeping the case on hold. He said in court he’s against a proposed plea deal that would mean no prison time for one of two charged in this case. The defendants are owners of Biological Resource Center of Illinois, which was raided by the feds in 2015.

    In the proposed plea deal, Donald Greene, Sr. would plead guilty to wire fraud and 20 years in prison would be cut down to just two years.

    Donald Greene II, Donald Sr.'s son, would plead guilty to concealing the fraud and under the deal, three years in prison would turn into no prison time.

    Judge Borman said in court he doesn’t know of any federal judge in Detroit who has taken a deal like that. He said he’s been on the bench almost 25 years.

    The Greenes are connected to convicted cadaver dealer Art Rathburn, who was busted in 2013. Investigators found inside his shabby warehouse the body parts of more than a thousand different people cut up, sometimes with a chain saw and kept on ice.

    The Greenes are charged with selling human remains that were contaminated with infectious diseases for medical and scientific purposes.

    Butsch met with the feds before going to court. He found out that he and the others may not be “victims” in the Greene’s case here. And because the feds took so long developing the case, the Illinois statute of limitations of three years may have expired for state criminal charges and a civil lawsuit.

    The remains of 268 families remain on ice in Detroit until this case is resolved and prison time is agreed to by Judge Borman.

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    https://ktla.com/2019/07/31/arizona-...blast-testing/

    An Arizona man says a body donation center where FBI agents reported finding buckets of human organs and a Frankenstein-like body sold his mother’s body to the U.S. Army for “blast testing.”

    Jim Stauffer told Phoenix television station KNXV on Tuesday that he contacted the Biological Resource Center after his 73-year-old mother, who had Alzheimer’s, died five years ago. He said he now feels “foolish” because he only contacted the donation facility after his mother’s neurologist couldn’t accept the body at the time.

    Stauffer said he signed BRC paperwork outlining what he would and would not permit the center to do with his mother’s body. Several days later, he received a box with a majority of her ashes.

    He had no idea what actually happened until he says Reuters combed through internal BRC documents obtained by authorities and found out Stauffer’s mother, Doris, was sold to the military for “blast testing.”

    “She was then supposedly strapped in a chair on some sort of apparatus, and a detonation took place underneath her to basically kind of get an idea of what the human body goes through when a vehicle is hit by an IED,” Stauffer said.

    Stauffer — who has joined a lawsuit against BRC and Stephen Gore, the company’s owner — said he remembers the mention of explosives on the paperwork he signed years earlier and didn’t give his consent.

    “Every time there’s a memory, every time there’s a photograph you look at, there’s this ugly thing that happened just right there staring right at you,” Stauffer said.

    When federal authorities raided the Arizona facility of the BRC in January 2014, they made a horrific discovery: bodies piled atop one another, buckets full of body parts and other unsettling scenes, details that came to light recently when a former FBI agent gave a statement for a lawsuit.

    Thirty-five relatives of people whose bodies were supposed to be donated for science research between 2010 and 2014 have sued officials who worked at BRC in Maricopa County or its facility in Illinois.

    The grim discoveries were detailed in a civil lawsuit which was first filed in 2015, has been amended several times and is headed for trial this fall in a Phoenix court. It alleges officials deceived relatives who donated the remains of their loved ones and the company conspired to traffic bodies and body parts for profit.

    CNN contributed to this report.

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