Funeral Home Owner Who Illegally Sold HIV-Infected Body Parts Gets 20 Years In Prison


A former funeral home operator and her mother will spend years in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges stemming from illegally selling body parts.

On Tuesday, Megan Hess received 20 years after pleading guilty to mail fraud and aiding and abetting related to the scheme. The 46-year-old, who operated the Montrose, Colorado Sunset Mesa Funeral Home with her mother, Shirley Koch, sold hundreds of bodies or body parts to different research organizations without the families' consent. The recipients of the parts intended to use them for scientific purposes, though, were unaware that the mother-daughter duo stole them. Hess and Koch were busted in 2020.

Prosecutors believe the scheme was carried out between 2010 and 2018. Hess also started a non-profit organization called Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation, which did business as Donor Services. This entity was a body broker service that also operated in the funeral home. In certain cases, the recipients of the body parts requested samples that were HIV-free and clear of any other contagious disorders. To keep their clients satisfied, Mess and Koch fabricated blood test results and delivered infected samples, according to the indictment.

Likely the most disturbing fact of all is that the women took money from families for cremation services. When it was time to deliver the ashes, many times, the grieving loved ones were unknowingly receiving the ashes of multiple deceased people.

"They took advantage of numerous victims who were at their lowest point given the recent loss of a loved one," stated U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan.

Koch, who pleaded guilty to the same charges, received a 15-year prison sentence.

The post Funeral Home Owner Who Illegally Sold HIV-Infected Body Parts Gets 20 Years In Prison appeared first on Baller Alert.


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