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Businessman convicted in scheme to sell body parts donated to UCLA 

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A Los Angeles County jury today found a Rancho Cucamonga businessman guilty of grand theft by embezzlement, tax evasion and other felonies in connection with a scheme to sell body parts donated to UCLA's medical school.

Ernest V. Nelson, was found guilty of selling body parts to medical and pharmaceutical research companies without permission from the campus. His conspirator, Henry Reid, the former director of UCLA's donated body program, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in January to more than four years in prison and ordered to pay $500,000 in compensation to the David Geffen School of Medicine.

When the scheme came to light in 2004, the campus voluntarily shut down the program and instituted a comprehensive series of strategies designed to enhance security, build in transparency and widen oversight. Medical school officials said the new program is running smoothly and that they are confident the measures will ensure that donated bodies are used only to advance scientific research and the education of medical students.

UCLA police Chief Karl Ross praised the work of his detectives. "The work of the UCLA investigators in this complex, multi-state investigation was the key component in ensuring a successful prosecution and sentencing," said Ross. "I want to acknowledge their excellent work for almost five years to ensure that justice was served."

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