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Michigan Couple Arrested in Fraud Scheme Involving Distribution of Infectious Human Remains

On January 29, 2016, Arthur Rathburn and his wife Elizabeth Rathburn were arrested by federal agents, following their January 19, 2016, indictment in U.S. District Court, Detroit, MI. The Rathburns were indicted on charges related to a fraud scheme involving the distribution of infectious human remains. Arthur Rathburn, owner of International Biological Incorporated (IBI), was charged with wire fraud, false statements, and illegal transportation of hazardous materials. Elizabeth Rathburn, manager at IBI, was charged with wire fraud and false statements. IBI was a body broker business located in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

The indictment alleged that between January 2007 and December 2013, Arthur and his wife Elizabeth Rathburn participated in a scheme to defraud buyers of "willed-to-science" donor cadaver parts. The Rathburns obtained bodies and body parts from suppliers, which IBI would then typically dismember, before renting out to customers for medical or dental training. On more than one occasion, the Rathburns withheld medical facts surrounding the death of certain donors, failed to inform customers that some cadaver body parts were considered infectious, and falsely represented the body parts were free of diseases. In addition, Arthur Rathburn willfully caused the delivery of regulated hazardous materials in violation of federal transportation regulations.

We are conducting this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.