BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Some 26 Romanian police officers and ambulance employees have been charged with calling undertakers to tell them that someone had died — or in some cases were not yet dead — in exchange for money.
Officials say the suspects called funeral parlor managers about people who had died in car accidents or had collapsed on the street.
Prosecutor Corina Paraschivescu told The Associated Press on Wednesday that 26 officials, 10 of them police officers, had been charged. Six of them were under arrest for about a month because they were considered "a social danger."
She said police and emergency officials would contact undertakers with the names and address of the deceased or gravely injured from the identity cards that Romanians always carry or send the telephone numbers of family members from victims' mobile phones. Undertakers would then contact the families to try to sell funeral services.
Local Romanian media reported that officials got up to 170 euros ($235) for information on a fresh corpse. Police earn between 600 euros and 2,100 euros a month.
Health Ministry official Raed Arafat said some of the cases involved people not officially declared dead.
"It is shocking for us," Paraschivescu said.