| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Italian police bust morticians in bribery, kickback scheme

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By Reuters
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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Watchdog counts $1 billion wasted in Afghanistan
  2. Russia scoffs at alliance with West on Syria
  3. In Uganda, Pope Francis pays tribute to nation’s martyrs
  4. Suicide bomber targets crowd of Shiites in Nigeria
  5. Civilian officers slain by gunmen in southern Mexico
  6. France hails 130 victims of Paris terrorist attacks
  7. Mexico seizes El Chapo’s planes, cars, houses
  8. Bus carrying presidential guard targeted by bomber in Tunisia
  9. Pakistani doctor who led CIA to bin Laden stuck in prison
  10. Turkey shoots down Russian jet it says violated its airspace
  11. France, Russia iron out alliance against Islamic State