– The State Board of Mortuary Science
late yesterday revoked the certificates of
registration for two funeral homes and a cremation
service in Newark that were involved with
illegal body parts harvesting, the action
shutting down all three businesses.
Board also found that Stephen K. Finley, who
with his wife owns the Berardinelli Forest
Hill Memorial Home, Funeraria Santa Cruz and
Cremation at a Low Cost, acted as a funeral
director in violation of a January, 2009 order
that revoked his license.
revocation of the registrations follows the
temporary closures of the funeral homes and
cremation service ordered by the Board as
an interim action earlier this month.
businesses are closed and will not re-open
for the safety of the public,” Attorney
General Anne Milgram said. “Despite
his license revocation, Finley was found to
have functioned as a funeral director and
interacted with the public, endangering those
who came to the businesses.”
was allowed to retain ownership of the funeral
homes and cremation service but had to employ
licensed funeral directors to arrange for
and preside over funerals, under terms of
the January order with the Board. Undercover
investigators from the Division’s Enforcement
Bureau went to the funeral homes on two separate
occasions and made funeral arrangements directly
demonstrated that he cannot be trusted to
keep his word by his violating the legal order
of the licensing board. My hope is that he
never again is in a position where he can
harm the public,” said David Szuchman,
Consumer Affairs Director.
Board in January ordered the revocation of
Finley’s funeral director’s license
after an investigation by the Division’s
Enforcement Bureau, with the assistance of
the Kings County District Attorney’s
Office and the Food and Drug Administration,
uncovered that Finley was involved in a scheme
to harvest tissue from the dead without obtaining
the proper consent. This tissue was then allegedly
sold and used in surgical procedures.
leader of the scheme, Michael Mastromarino,
pleaded guilty in New York to enterprise corruption,
body stealing, and reckless endangerment.
Attorney General Doreen A. Hafner represented
the state in this matter.