Israeli man who brokered body parts in New York gets prison term
Man found kidneys for three New Jersey residents
A 61-year-old Israeli man living in Brooklyn has been sentenced to 2 ˝ years in prison for illegally procuring three kidneys for three New Jersey residents. Sixty-one-year-old Levy Izhak Rosenbaum entered a guilty plea for illegally brokering transplants for profit. It was the first such conviction in the United States under federal law.
Sixty-one-year-old Levy Izhak Rosenbaum entered a guilty plea for illegally brokering transplants for profit. It was the first such conviction in the United States under federal law.
Rosenbaum charged between $120,000 and $150,000 each for his services, prosecutors said. He also pleaded to a count of conspiracy to broker a fourth kidney transaction following a sting operation which led to his arrest. An undercover FBI agent had pretended to have an ailing relative.
Rosenbaum typically found donors in Israel through newspaper advertisements who were willing to give up a kidney in exchange for payment, He then helped to arrange the necessary blood tests to ensure a match and for the donors' travel to the United States.
Rosenbaum also helped donors and recipients invent a cover story to trick hospital staff into thinking the donation was a purely altruistic exchange between friends or relatives, which is legal.
Some felt that while Rosenbaum worked on a cash-basis, that he had saved the lives of loved ones in the process. At least one relative of a kidney recipient spoke in defense of Rosenbaum at the hearing at the U.S. District Court in Trenton, New Jersey saying he was a hero who helped save her father's life.
"My father was dying, and the system was failing us," Brooklyn resident Beckie Cohen said of her father's five-year wait on a kidney transplant list.
One of Rosenbaum's donors, Elahn Quick, who agreed to cooperate with the government's case in exchange for immunity from prosecution, described to the court that he felt exploited by Rosenbaum.
Quick said he agreed to have his kidney removed for $25,000, said he was having second thoughts as he lay on the hospital bed and raised it with his "caretaker," identified as a Rosenbaum associate named Ido.
Quick described how Ido reassured him. Before anything could be done to cancel or delay the surgery, Quick slipped out of consciousness.
"He was holding my hand, and he said it was not too late, but before I finished the conversation, I was gone," Quick said. He awoke hours later, after the surgery, to a nurse shaking him and Ido had disappeared.
U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson also ordered Rosenbaum to forfeit $420,000 that he made during his time trading kidneys for cash in Brooklyn.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Kidney transplants, New York, New Jersey, Israeli, organ brokering
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