If he whiled away his nights looting corpses for profit behind a pair of rose-colored glasses, Christopher Aldorasi’s seeing everything much clearer now.
The mortician was sentenced to nine to 27 years last week for helping to raid more than 1,000 corpses for valuable skin, bone and tissue that his boss, Michael Mastromarino, sold for big bucks through his own biomedical company.
During his two-month bench trial, Aldorasi said that he shouldn’t be held culpable for what he did because he was merely following Mastromarino’s instructions.
His excuse didn’t sway Judge Albert Tomei, who said that Aldorasi was far from naïve.
“Mr. Aldorasi was a funeral director and he knew the rules and regulations,” Tomei said. “I believe Mr. Aldorasi knew what was going on here and the reason was M-O-N-E-Y.”
Aldorasi, 36, Mastromarino, 44, Joseph Nicelli, 52, and Lee Cruceta, 35, were accused of rooting organs, bones and tissue out of bodies they received from funeral homes through the city.
The harvested remains were then sold to area hospitals.
Police said that after Mastromarino and his crew removed the body parts, they would allegedly re-stitch the corpses up, replacing stolen bones and organs with their bloodied aprons and PVC piping to make it appear that the bodies hadn’t been tampered with. They were then sent back to the funeral homes for embalming.
All of this was done without the consent of the deceased’s family, officials from the Kings County District Attorney’s office said.
Dozens of funeral directors, who would receive $1000 for providing Mastromarino with his materials, have pled guilty for handing the bodies over to his crew, officials said.
Since body parts can only be donated with expressed, written consent, Mastromarino forged death certificates, donor requests and other documents, making it appear that it was the decedent’s wish to have their organs and tissues harvested after their passing.
He also altered the cause of death to make the harvested body parts more desirable; since body parts belonging to those who died of cancer and other diseases shouldn’t be harvested and used for replacements and grafts.
During his sentencing, Aldorasi showed no emotion as he heard from a transplant victim who may have received one of these contaminated body parts. Some of the families of the plundered victims also spoke.
Mastromarino pled guilty for spearheading the scam. In return, he was sentenced to 54 years in prison.
During a sentencing hearing last month, he apologized to his victims’ families. He is expected to be sentenced this week, prosecutors said.
Cruceta pleaded guilty and testified against Aldorasi.
Nicelli’s case is expected to go to court in the next few weeks.