updated 12/12/2008 8:28:38 PM ET 2008-12-13T01:28:38

A former funeral director has been convicted of removing body parts from corpses without permission in upstate New York.

Jason Gano was found guilty Friday of illegally harvesting parts from 17 corpses. He is the first of seven defendants to stand trial in Rochester on charges of illegally dissecting skin, bone and other parts from 36 bodies that were being prepared for cremation at four funeral homes.

Prosecutors say Gano allowed a biomedical company's employees to loot bodies without permission.

The defense says the company's owner sent Gano forged documents indicating relatives had given their consent.

Gano faces up to 10 to 20 years in prison.

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