A Colorado funeral home owner accused of illegally selling body parts and supplying clients with fake ashes pleaded guilty to mail fraud in federal court on Tuesday, and now faces up to 20 years in prisonThe Daily Sentinel reports.

Megan Hess and her mother Shirley Koch ran the Sunset Mesa Funeral Home in Montrose where between 2010 and 2018 they allegedly offered cremation and provided other services to grieving families at $1,000 and higher, but according to a grand jury indictment, many of these services never happened.

Hess and Koch would instead ship the corpses and body parts to alternate destinations for research without informing the families, according to the U.S. Justice Department. These transfers were performed via the Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation and Donor Services, a non-profit Hess started in 2009. Authorities said the pair would also ship bodies that belonged to people who had died from infectious diseases, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV, despite reassuring buyers that the corpses weren’t infected.

The mother and daughter were detained in 2020 and were charged with six counts of mail fraud and three counts of illegal transportation of hazardous materials. Both parties initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, and alternate charges will be dropped as a result of the plea change. Prosecutors recommended a sentence for Hess of 12 to 15 years. Hess is set to be sentenced in January, and Koch is expected to change her plea on July 12.

Revisit a 2020 news story on the family below.