#3. Police and Firefighters Become Drug Peddlers and Extortionists
Police officers of New York City's 30th Precinct spent a good portion of the 1980s and early '90s amassing a list of transgressions that would have impressed the Goodfellas -- or at least elicited an approving nod. The long, track-marked arm of the law became synonymous with reselling dope that was confiscated in drug raids and made a habit of dismantling cars in search of hidden drug stashes to steal. In at least one case, drug pushers were forced to acquire their dope from the police via auction. In another, a corrupt cop straight-up shot an unsuspecting dealer for his drug stash. And now, if only for a brief and ill-advised moment, you've felt bad for a drug dealer.
He was just trying to get by. Unlike Roy, who's still a greedy dick.
Of the 191 cops employed at the 30th Precinct, an estimated 25 percent were involved in illicit activities, and approximately 1 in 6 was eventually arrested. The courts were forced to overturn 125 separate drug convictions against 98 different criminals, of whom 70 percent actually admitted to committing a crime. The fallout ended up being among the costliest in New York's history, flushing $10 million down the toilet like a panicked Lorraine Bracco.
But the cops aren't the only heroes ever to become robbers. A more recent example comes from the Miami Beach Fire Department, which in 2012 became notorious for demanding cash to overlook fire code violations at a local nightclub. Among the key players in the department's racket were four fire code compliance officers, including one who ran drugs with a corrupt cop on the side. Months of FBI surveillance uncovered a pattern of payoffs rendered by Club Dolce in order to avoid incurring fines of $40,000 and $50,000. To cover up the crimes, the senior fire inspector masked the ransom as charitable donations.
That year's calendar made $75,000. And that was before the money laundering.
Over the course of this extortion, millions of dollars in fines went up in smoke (sorry) as compliance officers became adept at the fine arts of assault, fraud, and abuse of power. That kind of morality can't be taught.
No seriously, don't teach that to anyone. The world's bad enough.
#2. Funeral Homes Sell Diseased Organs to Transplant Hopefuls
When you think "stable, trustworthy individual," you think funeral home director.
Wait, get that out of your head. We're not talking about that today.
Well, presumably you at least hope for "not a perverse grave robber." Sadly, that might be hoping for too much: Funeral directors and crematorium workers make a killing (so sorry) by robbing dead bodies of their bones, teeth, and skin for sale to medical schools and hospitals, which in turn unknowingly transplant them into living bodies.
In the U.S. it's a multimillion-dollar enterprise, with an estimated 16,800 families of victims filing suits. That's right: Your new scrotum graft could very well have come from corpse robbery. That's a surefire recipe for a sack-haunting, if you ask us.
"Baby, it's not you. It's the scrote ghost, the boner donor moaner."
One of the more high-profile cases in recent history revolved around Michael Mastromarino. Under the guise of a "biotech" company, he and a crew of not-so-figurative hatchet men enlisted 10 funeral directors across New York and Pennsylvania to steal parts from over a thousand different bodies, including that of the late great host of Masterpiece Theater, Alistair Cooke. There is no joke here because, with shaky hands, we have deleted several macabre puns in a row. You can thank us later.
The undertaking was as unsanitary as it was morbid. Corpses, some of which belonged to people with AIDS, hepatitis, and cancer, were left exposed in alleyways for days before being brought to the cutting table, where bones were replaced with PVC pipes to disguise the theft. In addition to mortifying families throughout two states, the crooks may have even infected one transplant recipient with hepatitis C.
We're not sure how you go about comforting a lady who got a serious disease from aggravated Frankensteining. "Well, it's not like you got it from anything you did -- it's just part of the rotting corpse they stole and stitched into you!"
"I'm sorry ma'am, but your herpes is haunted."
#1. A Ring of Doctors Harvests Organs from the Needy
Darren McCollester/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Given the life-changing ramifications of organ transplants, we assume that only the most expert hands and Hippocratic of oath-takers screen potential donors and find the appropriate recipients. Anyone deviating from that system would have to be some back-alley quack with a medical degree from B.S.U. So when a team of prominent surgeons was revealed at the center of a kidney theft ring, it's understandable if you feel like the world's moral compass is spinning like a drunk at the North Pole.
North Pole drunks: unstable, but a good kidney source.
During the 2000s, Dr. Lutfi Dervishi was the acting director of a small clinic in Kosovo that he ran with his son Arban. With the blessing of several government officials, the pair worked alongside at least five other doctors to pilfer the kidneys of the poor.
Desperately poor donors were paid as little as $10,000 for their anatomical goodies, although in at least some cases they were left with only empty promises as compensation. The harvested organs, in turn, were sold to wealthy buyers located in Israel, Germany, and Canada for up to $130,000 apiece.
Suck it, "universal" health care!
The team's primary organ thief, Dr. Ysusuf Somnez, even bragged to the press about the fineness of his illegal kidney craftsmanship while on trial, remarking: "I am the best in the world as long as my fingers aren't broken."
Hey, somebody's got a good idea!
Related Reading: For a lighter mood, look at these legitimate organizations that let idiots run their social media. Movies have made insane asylums look pretty horrific, but that isn't really the case. By the same token some good orgsnizations, like Mensa, began for truly messed up reasons.