DENVER (KMGH) -- Two Colorado funeral home operators allegedly sold bodies and body parts illegally without families knowing, and often gave them ashes that didn't belong to their loved ones, federal prosecutors announced on Tuesday.
Megan Hess, 43, and her mother, Shirley Koch, 66, were indicted this month on nine counts of mail fraud and transportation of hazardous materials, according to court documents.
Hess and Koch face up to 20 years in prison for each of the six counts of mail fraud and up to five years in prison for each of the three hazardous materials counts.
Hess and Koch owned and operated the Sunset Mesa Funeral Home in Montrose, on Colorado's Western Slope. In dozens of alleged instances from 2010-2018, Hess and Koch sold body parts and bodies to third parties without informing families of the decedent, an indictment said.
U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said Hess and Koch also kept a container in their office of various ashes, which they would give to families, even if the remains weren't their loved ones.