In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced Megan Hess entered the plea for one count each of mail fraud and aiding and abetting. Starting in 2010, Hess reportedly "devised and executed a scheme to steal the bodies or body parts of hundreds of victims, and then sold those remains to victims purchasing the remains for scientific, medical, or educational purposes."
According to the Department of Justice, Hess was indicted on nine charges on March 17, 2020. Hess and her mother, Shirley Koch, ran Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors, which would provide cremation and other burial services. They reportedly charged $1,000 minimum for cremations, which the Department of Justice said "often did not occur."
In 2009, Hess reportedly created a nonprofit called Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation, Donor Services. Hess and Koch reportedly "failed to follow family wishes, and neither discussed nor obtained authorization for Donor Services to transfer decedents' bodies or body parts to third parties."
The Justice Department said Koch and Hess reportedly gave families ashes that were not of their loved ones.
Additionally, Hess and Koch reportedly "shipped bodies and body parts that tested positive for, or belonging to people who had died from, infectious diseases, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV, after certifying to buyers that the remains were disease free."
They often sent the remains either in the mail or on commercial flights.