Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

October 5, 2009: California Man Receives Sentence for Falsifying Records for Harvesting and Selling Human Tissue for Medical Implants

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Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations

The United States Attorney's Office Press Release


For Immediate Release
October 5, 2009

The United States Attorney's Office
Eastern District of North Carolina



RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court here today PHILIP JOE GUYETT, JR., 42, of Simi Valley, California, was sentenced today to 96 months imprisonment for three counts of mail fraud, committed in relation to his recovery and sale of human tissue for medical implantation. Restitution was also imposed.

Commenting on this case, United States Attorney George E.B. Holding stated: “The heinous nature of Mr. Guyett's crimes cannot be overstated, and today's sentence should give others working in industries critical to the public health a clear signal that this type of reckless dishonesty comes with serious consequences.”

The Criminal Information filed in this case on February 5, 2009, lays out the details of Mr. Guyett's scheme. Mr. Guyett, acting through the corporate identity “Donor Referral Services, Inc.,” recovered human tissue from deceased individuals at funeral homes in and around the Eastern District of North Carolina and sold such tissue to various tissue banks for subsequent sale to medical facilities for the eventual implantation in medical patients throughout the United States. Food and Drug Administration regulations require that certain medical information of the deceased tissue-donor be collected and analyzed by the tissue harvester, as certain medical conditions of the deceased would preclude their tissue from being used for implantation in medical patients. As part of the scheme to defraud, and to ensure the sale and purchase of the human tissue he harvested, Mr. Guyett knowingly falsified information on the medical history reports concerning the medical histories of the deceased donors from whom tissue was harvested. He would alter, omit, fabricate, and falsify material on the reports, including the deceased donors' age at death, or their cause of death, so that the tissue he was attempting to sell would not be rejected from purchase by various tissue banks because of the disqualifying medical conditions of the donors. He would also resubmit for sale tissue under a false donor name that had been previously rejected for purchase under the actual donor's name, and submit false blood samples (i.e. blood samples from a different deceased donor) for tissue he knew would be otherwise rejected for purchase.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Office of Criminal Investigations of the United States Food and Drug Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Jason Cowley served as prosecutor for the government.

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