Those who suffered from a multi-million dollar tissue harvesting scam were given the opportunity last week to pick apart the criminal mastermind behind the plot as 44-year-old Michael Mastromarino was sentenced to 18 to 54 years in prison.
“You are a butcher of lifeless bodies and you deserve to spend every day of 54 years in a jail cell,” victim Anthony Dumaine told Mastromarino, whose crew pilfered the remains of his father, a World War II veteran, for profit. “Only then will justice be served.”
“Did you think you were helping me, his only son, by breaking my final promise that he would be laid out and buried with dignity?” he asked, as recounted in the New York Post. “I will forever know that I was unable to keep that solemn promise because you wanted to make more money.”
Mastromarino was charged with looting over 1,000 corpses of bone, skin and tissue that were then re-sold to hospitals and clinics through a bio-medical company he ran in New Jersey.
Much of the tissue removal was done against the expressed written consent of the deceased or their family.
In some cases, Mastromarino would alter the records of the deceased, making it appear that the donor had died of natural causes rather than cancer or a host of other diseases.
This drastic measure led to a host of other charges from victims who may have received diseased organs during transplants.
Victim Danya Ryan told a judge she received hepatitis when doctors put one of Mastromarino’s harvested bones into her body during back surgery.
“Mr. Mastromarino’s sick, disgusting, appalling actions, all in the name of greed, have devastated my family to the point where we can never recover,” Ryan told the judge.
During his time to address the court, Mastromarino showed no emotion as he made a truncated apology.
“I’d just like to take the opportunity to apologize for the pain and grief I’ve caused to the donor families and the donor recipients,” he said. “God have mercy on my soul.”
A week earlier, one of Mastromarino’s henchmen, Christopher Aldorasi, was sentenced to 27 years in prison for his part in the body-looting scam.
Lee Cruceta, another crony, pleaded guilty at an earlier date and testified against Aldorasi. Dozens of funeral directors who were reportedly paid $1,000 a corpse for providing Mastromarino with his materials have also pleaded guilty for handing the bodies over to his crew, officials said.
The last member of Mastromarino’s team, funeral director Joseph Nicelli, is expected to go to trial in the next few months. His case was postponed after he reportedly fell off the roof of his Staten Island home and suffered a brain injury.
But to Mastromarino, whatever suffering he may have sustained at his sentencing wasn’t the end, but the beginning.
He is still facing a court date in Pennsylvania, where he looted hundreds of other corpses to fuel his body-harvesting enterprise.
He is also expected to face dozens of lawsuits from the victims and family members of victims.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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