-- Two Essex County funeral directors have
agreed to permanent revocation of their
mortuary science licenses for their involvement
in a scheme to harvest body parts from decedents
without the proper consent.
In an Order entered today by the State Board
of Mortuary Science, Stephen K. Finley agreed
to the revocation with prejudice of his
mortuary science license and to the permanent
bar on his right to apply or re-apply for
a license to practice mortuary science in
the State of New Jersey. In addition, Finley
has agreed to pay $40,000 in civil penalties.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s office
is currently handling the criminal aspect
of this case. Finley owns Berardinelli Forest
Hill Memorial Home, Cremation at a Low Cost,
and Funeraria Santa Cruz all located in
In an Order entered on December 2, 2008,
Robert J. Maitner Jr. agreed to the permanent
revocation of his mortuary science license
and his preclusion from any future involvement
in or ownership of any aspect of the funeral
director industry or funeral home business.
Maitner owned Kiernan Funeral Home and Maitner
Cremation Services both located in Belleville.
Both businesses have been closed. Maitner
pled guilty in the Supreme Court of the
State of New York, County of Kings, to attempted
enterprise corruption. Maitner received
six months in prison and five years probation.
In addition, Maitner paid $100,000 in settlement
of a civil forfeiture claim.
activities engaged in by these funeral directors
were abhorrent and violated common decency,”
Attorney General Anne Milgram said. “The
permanent license revocations are appropriate
given their actions.”
Enforcement Bureau worked tirelessly in
investigating this matter and bringing the
facts to the Board for its review,”
said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director.
“The evidence brought forth by our
investigators built the case that ultimately
resulted in the Board taking strong action
against these two individuals.”
An investigation by the Division of Consumer
Affairs Enforcement Bureau, with the assistance
of the Kings County District Attorney’s
Office and the Food and Drug Administration,
uncovered that both funeral directors were
involved in a scheme spanning from June
1, 2001 to October 31, 2005 to harvest tissue
from the dead without obtaining the proper
consent. This tissue was then allegedly
sold and used in surgical procedures. The
kingpin of the scheme, Michael Mastromarino,
pleaded guilty in New York to enterprise
corruption, body stealing, and reckless
endangerment. He is serving a prison term
of 18 to 54 years. Mastromarino also pled
to similar charges in Pennsylvania and was
sentenced to 25 to 58 years in prison. The
two sentences will run concurrently.
Deputy Attorney General Doreen A. Hafner
represented the State in this matter.
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