Man charged in body broker case back behind bars

Posted at 12:25 PM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 17:48:11-04

The Grosse Pointe Park businessman charged with buying and selling human body parts on the black market is back behind bars after making improper contact with his wife.

A judge ordered Art Rathburn back to jail after his wife testified birthday presents she got with a card made her feel scared. They are currently going through a divorce and he is not supposed to remain in contact with her.

On Monday, Elizabeth Rathburn pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in the case saying she would testify against Arthur in his trial.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Elizabeth admitted to providing human remains to a customer of International Biological, Inc. (IBI), and falsely represented that the remains were free of certain infectious diseases, even though she knew they had tested positive for hepatitis B and HIV.

An indictment unsealed in January, IBI would get the bodies and then dismember them to rent out for training. Both Arthur and Elizabeth knew the bodies died from infectious disease, and sometimes "obtained diseased remains from their suppliers at a reduced cost," according to the documents.

The documents also show IBI would sell to its customers, "falsely representing to those customers that the remains were free from certain infectious diseases" because the customers would not accept some infected remains.

"The scheme included (1) directly profiting from infectious remains supplied to unwitting customers in violation of contractual agreements and (2) not disclosing to customers that IBI failed to take industry standard precautions to prevent potential cross-contamination between infections and non-infectious remains," the indictment read.

IBI is accused of selling the body parts from January 2007 through December 2013.

The company also failed to take industry-standard precautions when it came to dismembering the body parts, according to the indictment.

Arthur "used a chainsaw, band saw, and reciprocating saw to dismember bodies without taking sanitary precautions," and "stored human heads by stacking them directly on top of each other without any protective barrier."