Kansas man sentenced after performing autopsies using false credentials, permanently banned doing business in the state
TOPEKA, Kan. (KAKE) - Shawn Lynn Parcells, of Topeka, was sentenced today to 69 months in prison for engaging in a wire fraud.
“It’s troubling whenever criminals deceptively present themselves as professionals to commit fraud on unwitting victims, but the fact that Parcells’ schemes were predicated upon exploiting the grief and bereavement of others, makes his act a particularly predatory crime,” said U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard.
“During their most vulnerable state, Mr. Parcells willfully defrauded individuals while they were grieving the loss of a loved one. He used deception as a means to prey on those looking to find answers surrounding the death of their loved ones by claiming to be a pathologist and being able to provide those answers” said FBI Special Agent in Charges Charles Dayoub. “Mr. Parcells fraudulently collected fees and profited on their grief for his own personal gain. Today’s sentencing
sends a clear message - the FBI will hold those accountable who use deception and fraud to take advantage of others in our community.”
A Kansas man convicted of performing illegal autopsies has been permanently banned from doing business in the state and ordered to pay more than $700,000 in restitution and fines, Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Wednesday.
Shawn Parcells, 42, who lived in Leawood and Topeka, was convicted in November of three felonies and three misdemeanors related to providing illegal autopsies in Wabaunsee County. He also pleaded guilty in May to one federal wire fraud charge related to the autopsies.
The Wabaunsee County crimes took place in 2014 and 2015. His sentencing is pending.
Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Christopher ordered Parcells to pay $254,762 in restitution to 82 consumers related to the private autopsy services in Wabaunsee County. He was also ordered to pay the county $49,600 in damages; $400,000 for violating state laws; and $60,000 in investigative and receivership fees.
Schmidt filed a lawsuit in 2019 accusing Parcells, a self-taught pathology assistant with no formal education, of contracting with Wabaunsee County to conduct autopsies and then not completing them according to state law, including not having a licensed pathologist present.
The judge also banned Parcells and his companies from doing any business in Kansas related to the human body, or performing any services regulated as a healing art, including any COVID-related services.
During the investigation, the state took control of more than 1,700 biological samples collected by Parcells. Schmidt said Wednesday that the state's receivership will end soon and that families will be notified when they have 30 days to seek release of the samples.
Before his guilty plea in federal court, Parcells faced 10 counts of wire fraud. Prosecutors allege that at least 375 people paid him more than $1.1 million between May 2016 and May 2019 for a full pathological study and diagnosis of a family member’s cause of death but the families never received the full autopsy reports.
His sentencing in that case has been scheduled for Sept. 15.