Kansas man jailed for illegal autopsies which earned him $1.9m

September 21, 2022 10:06 am

Shawn Parcells, seen at a press conference in 2014.[Source: 1News]

A Kansas man who admitted running an illegal autopsy scheme has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison for wire fraud.

Shawn Parcells, 42, who lived in Topeka and Leawood, was sentenced in a US federal court to one count of wire fraud, the US Attorney’s office said.

He pleaded guilty in May. As part of the plea deal, nine other fraud counts were dropped.

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Parcells, as owner of National Autopsy Services, persuaded a client to pay US$5000 for an autopsy, according to court records.

The client received an emailed autopsy report that appeared to be authored by Parcells. No pathologist was involved in the examination or report, which is illegal.

Between 2016 and 2019, Parcells, a self-taught pathology assistant with no formal education, made more than US$1.1 million (NZ $1.9 million) from more than 350 clients for autopsies, most of which he did not perform, according to court records.

Parcells, who ran three companies, was also charged in 2019 by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt with conducting illegal autopsies.

In August, Parcells was banned from doing business in Kansas and ordered to pay more than US$700,000 in restitution and fines for the state cases.

He was also ordered to pay over US$250,000 in restitution to 82 people that used his services.

That came after he was convicted in November of three felonies and three misdemeanours related to providing illegal autopsies in Wabaunsee County.

Prosecutors discovered that Parcells collected more than 1,600 biological samples, mostly human tissue, as part of the scheme.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment took custody of the samples and victims have until October 6 to claim them.