Share This Page

Italian police bust morticians in bribery, kickback scheme

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:42 p.m.

ROME — Italian police arrested five morticians on Wednesday on charges of making tens of thousands of dollars a month in bribes from funeral homes and profiting from grieving families of the dead.

The morticians would tip off a favored funeral home when a corpse arrived and take kickbacks from the cost of the burial ceremony, said Francesco Pastore, regional financial police chief in the central town of Pesaro.

They are thought to have made $13,800 a month each from the practice, Pastore said.

Corruption is a serious problem in Italy's public services, siphoning $82.7 billion annually from national finances, according to its audit court.

Pastore said former employees of the hospital and town council of Pesaro operated on bodies to remove pacemakers.

Investigators are probing whether the heart-regulating devices were sold on the black market.

Other accusations the morticians face include pocketing payments from families for preparing and dressing the dead rather than passing them on to the hospital, selling clothes, shoes and rosary beads for the dead at inflated cost, and giving formaldehyde injections without the proper training.

They were put under house arrest and 29 others, including doctors and funeral home owners, were charged with crimes.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.