Hidden cameras caught Rome cemetery workers involved in macabre scam.
A police investigation is underway after Rome cemetery workers were filmed dismembering bodies buried at Prima Porta graveyard as part of a scam that purported to offer relatives of the deceased a cheap alternative to cremation, reports Roman newspaper Il Messaggero.
The investigation centres around 15 people, among them employees of AMA Roma and local funeral directors, who colluded in the macabre scam and now face charges of fraud, corruption and the desecration of human remains, reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
The scam involved offering an "economic" alternative to cremation when relatives of the deceased were required to choose whether to renew the concession for the burial place in the cemetery wall niche - required after 30 years - or to have their relation buried elsewhere or cremated.
However, instead of being cremated, the bodies were dissected, in broad daylight, before being buried in an anonymous shared grave, while the families were given terracotta pots allegedly containing "other types of dust" - not the ashes of their loved ones - reports Italian newspaper Il Giornale.
Investigators have reportedly discovered 10 such cases at the cemetery, on Via Flaminia, although they have not ruled out the possibility of uncovering more, according to Il Messaggero.
AMA has stated that the employees in question were suspended as soon as the investigation came to light, in May, with the municipal company adding that it will continue to "offer maximum collaboration to investigators."
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Rome cemetery workers dismember bodies in cremation scam
Via Flaminia, km 14,400, 00188 Roma RM, Italy