The director of a funeral parlour that handled British broadcaster Alistair Cooke's body is cooperating with prosecutors probing an alleged body-snatching ring.

The funeral home is accused of plundering the broadcaster's corpse and hundreds more, a lawyer for the main defendant revealed.

Mario Gallucci, who represents alleged ringleader Michael Mastromarino, said Timothy O'Brien of the New York Mortuary Service, had agreed a secret deal with prosecutors and was set to testify against his client.

A law enforcement official confirmed that O'Brien was cooperating and said more charges against current and new defendants were expected as a result.

Authorities had been investigating whether the funeral home director conspired with Mastromarino to take tissue from people who had not given consent or were too old or too ill to donate.

He had denied the allegation in the past.

The tissue, in the form of skin, bone and tendons, was later sold for use in procedures like dental implants and hip replacements.