Man convicted of performing illegal autopsies sentenced to prison for wire fraud

Shawn Parcells, the man convicted of performing illegal autopsies, will spend more than 5 years in prison for wire fraud.
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 4:39 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawn Parcells, the man convicted of performing illegal autopsies, will spend more than 5 years in prison for wire fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas says Shawn Lynn Parcells, 42, of Topeka, was sentenced to 69 months - 5.75 years - in prison for a wire fraud scheme. In May 2022, he pleaded guilty to a single count of the crime.

Court records indicate that in July 2016, Parcells was the owner of National Autopsy Services, LLC, and convinced a client that he was qualified to conduct an autopsy based on false credentials. The client paid him $5,000 for the services and received an emailed copy of a final report from Parcells. The report included an opinion made within “a certain degree of medical certainty as a Forensic, Neuro, and Infectious Disease Epidemiology Fellow,” and appeared to be authored by Parcells.

However, the Court found that no pathologist participated in the exam or report.

“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.

Court documents note that between May 2016 and May 2019, Parcells used NAS to gather fees from more than 350 clients for a total of $1,166,000. In many cases, Parcells failed to provide an authentic completed report.

“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 Charge 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.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney prosecuted. However, Parcells was previously found guilty of six counts of performance of illegal autopsies in 2021 in Wabaunsee Co. District Court.

The Kansas Attorney General’s Office says victims have until Oct. 6 to claim human tissue and other biological samples collected by Parcells from their loved ones.

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