CHICAGO (CBS) — People who lost loved ones and entrusted their bodies to science ended up learning they were dismembered and sold off for profit.
The man behind the scheme, Donald Greene Sr., was sentenced to two years in prison this week to serve time for selling diseased body parts. Families have waited years for justice.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Heavy Rain, Possible Flood Watch
On Wednesday, those families talked only to CBS 2’s Tara Molina, who has tracked this case and investigated the practice for CBS 2 for years now.
They said no sentence would have been enough, but this is what they expected. Meanwhile, they are waiting on the return of their loved ones’ cremains.
Donald A. Greene Sr. will serve two years behind bars then three years supervision. It is a sentencing Tracy Smolka said she has been waiting a long time for.
“Six years of pondering,” she said.
It has been six years since she first got that call from the FBI.
She was told: “We have your father’s head in our freezer. It’s been here for the last two years.”
She had thought her father’s body had been donated to Greene’s company for research, the greater good. Instead, his remains have been tied up in what prosecutors called a scheme to defraud a federal investigation spanning three states, then years in court.
“It’s numbing, painful,” Smolka said.
That raid led the feds to Rosemont, Illinois, and Donald Greene Sr.’s since-shuttered company, The Biological Resource Center of Illinois. He and his son, Donald Greene Jr., have both been federally charged…
Greene Sr. was sentenced on a wire fraud charge for knowingly selling diseased donated body-parts to medical researchers.READ MORE: Man Dies After Being Shot In West Garfield Park
According to the government’s sentencing document, “Donald A. Greene Sr. risked the health of his customers to maximize his profit.”
Donald Greene Sr. Sentencing Memorandum
Court Memorandum On Body Donor Family Status
“To me, he was a coward,” Smolka said. “He apologized to his wife, his son, his daughter. his grandsons. Where was our apology? He didn’t give that.”
Smolka was given a chance to speak at his virtual federal sentencing-addressing Greene directly…
“I said I hope you burn in hell,” sue said.
Six years later, she says it all means something to her and more than 100 other families whose loved ones remains have been held by the government while the federal case moved forward.
Now that Greene has been sentenced, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed they will be returning those cremains to families.
However, Gina Balaya, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Michigan, said prosecutors do not believe restitution applies in this case – though the issue was left for the court to decide.
“I don’t know that I will ever truly have closure,” Smolka said. “Will I make peace eventually? Yes. Can I say it’s closure? No. The wound will always be there.”MORE NEWS: 15-Year-Old Critically Wounded, Among 2 Shot In Belmont Heights Online Sale Meetup
Through our work in reporting this case and investigating this practice, there is now an Illinois state task force at work on regulation and a federal bill introduced – something Smolka has been involved in and something she says she will continue to fight for.