CHICAGO (CBS) — The mastermind behind a scheme to sell dead bodies for cash is heading to prison.
It’s a case CBS 2 has been investigating for years.READ MORE: Illinois State Task Force Meets For First Time, Seeking To Crack Down On Brokering Of Body Parts
Donald Greene Sr. was sentenced on Tuesday to 2 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.
The former owner of the now-shuttered Biological Resource Center in Rosemont was charged with knowingly selling contaminated, diseased human remains.
Families thought their loved ones’ remains were going to science, but instead were sold for millions of dollars in profits in Illinois, Michigan, and Arizona.
Greene’s son, Donald Greene Jr., also was charged in the scheme. Both pleaded guilty. Greene Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Two years ago, the federal judge in their case ground the case to a halt after throwing out an earlier plea deal and telling attorneys on both sides to work on a new one.
One man who has been part of CBS 2’s coverage wrote a letter to the judge that might have made all the difference.
“Our voices have been silenced. Justice delayed and perhaps even denied,” said John Butsch as he read the letter he wrote to U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in 2019.READ MORE: After CBS 2 Stories, New Law Aims To Crack Down On Brokering Of Body Parts
The judge read the letter in open court.
“Your honor, please allow our voices to be recorded and heard,” Butsch wrote.
Butsch waited five years to really lay his daughter Alexandria to rest, and wrote the letter to the judge after learning he and other families whose relatives’ body parts were sold off might not get to make their voices heard in court.
Because the charges prosecutors chose to bring against the Greenes are specifically related to diseased parts brokered, he said he was informed in 2019 that the hundreds of families who say they were misled by the men may not have any say at their future sentencing.
In telling prosecutors and defense attorneys to work out a new plea deal, he told them to include a brief on the standing of the families.
CBS 2 first broke the story of precious cargo and broken promises that donated bodies would go to medical research in 2015. Those promises were allegedly made by the Greenes.
The father and son duo was behind the now shuttered Biological Resource Center of Illinois.
Those broken promises led the FBI to the center more than six years ago.MORE NEWS: Proposed Federal Legislation Would Impose Regulations To Prevent Black-Market Brokering Of Donated Body Parts
Bodies and body parts weren’t donated at all, but in some cases were sold on the black market, the feds said.