Doctor in N.H. crematory scam gets jail time

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BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) – The former Massachusetts medical examiner convicted of taking part in a New Hampshire crematory scam has been ordered to serve six months in jail.

Putnam Breed, the ex-medical examiner, was sentenced Wednesday to a 12-month jail sentence, with six months suspended. He was convicted in January of nine counts of fraud and theft. Prosecutors said Breed received money for signing off on cremations at Bayview Crematory in Seabrook without first inspecting the bodies, as required by state law.

Authorities who raided the crematory in February 2005 said they found records in disarray and a body stored in a broken cooler. Until then, Bayview handled up to 2,000 bodies a year from funeral homes in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. It had been operating for six years without registering with or being inspected by the state.

The raid resulted in criminal charges against Breed and several others. It also prompted the legislature to pass stiffer rules for crematory licensing and inspections.

Breed was the first person to face trial in the resulting scandal.

He told police that former Bayview owner Derek Wallace, of Salisbury, Mass., hired him to inspect bodies and issue the cremation certificates. Wallace, who sold Bayview for $1 in 2002 to his mother, Linda Stokes, is scheduled to go to trial in September on theft-related charges.

Three others have been convicted. Bayview superintendent James Fuller pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges before he died last year. Bayview’s owners at the time of the raid, Linda and Larry Stokes, pleaded guilty in May to tax fraud and evasion charges. The Stokes received suspended prison sentences and ordered to pay nearly $250,000 in back taxes and penaltiesl

Linda Stokes also must testify against her son at trial.

AP-ES-07-18-07 1611EDT

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