Photo: Asssociated Press
In the first conviction of its kind in the U.S., a Brooklyn man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for orchestrating three illegal kidney transplants, according to the New Jersey District Attorney’s Office. Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, 61, sold organs procured from Israeli citizens overseas on the black market between 2006 and 2009. He pocketed between $120,000 to $150,000 per donation.
The donors were willing residents from orthodox Jewish communities in New Jersey and Brooklyn, one of whom took the stand on Wednesday to recount the day Rosenbaum convinced him to go through with his surgery in 2008.
“He was holding my hand, and he said it was not too late, but before I finished the conversation, I was gone,” 31-year-old Elahn Quick said, according to The Star-Ledge’s Jason Grant.
Quick was reportedly paid $25,000 for his trouble and given little more than a pat on a back before Rosenbaum bowed out of his Minnesota hospital room.
Rosenbaum’s scheme unravelled after an undercover FBI agent posing as a potential client brokered a deal to procure a $160,000 kidney for her supposedly dying uncle.
From the D.A’s report:
“Rosenbaum informed them that “[i]t’s illegal to buy and sell organs,” but assured them that “I’m doing this a long time.” Rosenbaum explained to Dwek and the UC that he would help the recipient and the donor concoct a fictitious story to make it appear that the transplant was the product of a genuine donation and that he would be in charge of babysitting the donor upon the donor’s arrival from overseas. Rosenbaum also informed Dwek and the CW that he would charge $150,000 to arrange the transplant, explaining that the high price was due in part to payments that would be made to individuals in Israel for their assistance in locating the donor.”
Rosenbaum’s the first to be convicted under federal law banning the black market sale of kidneys from paid donors. In addition to his prison term, Rosenbaum will have to forfeit the $420,000 he netted from the scheme.
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