Affidavit details why FBI raided Rosemont body donation firm

  • FBI agents were looking for evidence about the illegal sale of body parts when they raided the Rosemont offices of the Biological Resource Center of Illinois in January, according to federal documents.

      FBI agents were looking for evidence about the illegal sale of body parts when they raided the Rosemont offices of the Biological Resource Center of Illinois in January, according to federal documents. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/20/2015 12:28 PM

When federal authorities raided the Rosemont offices of a body donation firm and its Schiller Park crematorium earlier this year, they were looking for evidence about allegations the company sold body parts illegally, a search warrant has revealed.

FBI agents conducted raids over the course of three days in January at the Biological Resource Center of Illinois' offices at 9501 W. Devon Ave. in Rosemont and at its sister company, Cremation Services Inc., at 9329 W. Byron St. in Schiller Park.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

According to a search warrant and affidavit kept under seal until this month, FBI officials said they sought to enter the two locations since they had "probable cause" to believe there was evidence of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property and evidence of false statements.

However, as of Thursday, no charges have been filed.

An attorney for Biological Resource Center of Illinois said in an email Thursday night: "There is significant information missing from the affidavit that provides a fuller picture of the standards and practices employed by BRCIL. Those standards and practices are in line with industry standards."

Federal authorities said in the 51-page affidavit that the company is suspected of selling body parts for profit, many of which were sold to International Biological Inc., a former Detroit body donation firm also being investigated by the FBI for doing the same.

Authorities said the two firms engaged in transactions worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars" since at least the late 1990s.

While officials from the Rosemont company told families that donated bodies would only be used for medical research and not be sold, donor families told FBI agents they were misled about how the bodies would be used.

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In one case, a mother said she was told her son's tissues would be donated to colleges and research centers, but an invoice obtained by the FBI showed that his body was sold to International Biological for $5,000, according to the search warrant.

That person's remains were among those seized during an FBI raid in Detroit in December 2013.

In other cases, the FBI says Biological Resource Center accepted bodies when it was clear no valid consent by donors was given.

The FBI warrant also states that donated bodies infected with various infectious diseases, including HIV, hepatitis, sepsis and MRSA, were also sold.

Biological Resource Center's attorney said the company was cooperating with the federal investigation.

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