May 22, 2018
Michigan Man Sentenced for Fraud Scheme Involving Distribution of Infectious Human Remains
On May 22, Arthur Rathburn, former president of International Biological, Inc. (IBI), Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Detroit, to 108 months’ incarceration, 36 months’ supervised release, and a forfeiture of $761,354.72.
In January 2016, Rathburn and his former wife, Elizabeth Rathburn, were indicted for a scheme involving the distribution of infectious body parts, some infected with HIV and hepatitis, to unsuspecting customers purchasing cadavers for research. In January 2018, a jury found Arthur Rathburn guilty of seven counts of aiding and abetting wire fraud and the illegal transportation of hazardous material.
Between January 2007 and December 2013, the Rathburns defrauded buyers of “willed to science” cadaver parts. They obtained whole bodies and body parts of deceased donors from suppliers, which IBI dismembered before renting them out for medical or dental training. On more than one occasion, the Rathburns withheld medical facts surrounding the deaths of certain donors, failed to inform customers that some cadavers were infectious, and falsely represented that the body parts were disease free.
In addition, Arthur Rathburn delivered hazardous materials in violation of Federal transportation regulations, when he illegally shipped the head of an individual who had died from bacterial sepsis and aspiration pneumonia. He presented the head to Delta Cargo for transportation by air without proper packaging, labeling, or markings to indicate the shipment contained biological substances.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.