World Bulletin / News Desk
An Israeli man who pleaded guilty to illegally brokering kidney transplants for profit in the United States, the first such conviction under federal law, was sentenced on Wednesday to 2-1/2 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, a 61-year old Israeli citizen who lived in Brooklyn, pleaded guilty last October to charges that he brokered kidney transplants between paid donors and recipients on three occasions.
Prosecutors said Rosenbaum charged between $120,000 and $150,000 to help three New Jersey residents find kidneys for transplant between 2006 and 2009.
He also pleaded to a count of conspiracy to broker a fourth kidney transaction following a sting operation leading to his arrest involving an undercover FBI agent who pretended to have a sick uncle.
Prosecutors said Rosenbaum typically found donors in Israel through newspaper advertisements who were willing to give up a kidney in exchange for payment, and that he helped arrange the necessary blood tests to ensure a match and for the donors' travel to the United States.
He 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, rather than an illegal business deal, according to prosecutors.
Paul J. Fishman, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney, whose office prosecuted the case, said Rosenbaum was motivated by profit, not the saving of lives.
"A black market where the moneyed sick can buy replacement parts from the less fortunate is not only grim, it apportions lifesaving treatments unfairly, insults donor dignity, and violates the law," Fishman said in a statement following the sentencing by Judge Anne E. Thompson.
"Prison is an appropriate punishment for Levy Rosenbaum's illegal capitalization on others' desperation. Although Rosenbaum painted himself as a benevolent kidney matchmaker, the criminal profits went right into his pocket."
Rosenbaum's lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment. Rosenbaum had been facing up to five years in prison for each of the four counts to which he pleaded guilty, prosecutors said.
Rosenbaum had earlier agreed to forfeit the $420,000 he had made in the kidney brokering cases for which he was convicted. He is due to begin his sentence on Oct. 12. As he is not a U.S. citizen, immigration authorities will decide whether to attempt to deport him once he has finished his sentence.
Niger Delta Avengers have brought oil production in delta region to historic low
UN says hundreds of refugees, migrants reached Greek islands in past 24 hours
Blast occurred near presidential palace in Mogadishu, confirms minister
Spokesman hits out at 'highly discriminatory' restrictions on concealing swimwear
Since 2011, Tunisia has been rocked by spate of militant attacks that have left scores of soldiers and foreign tourists dead
Constitutional Court considers petition to annul result opposition claims was rigged
The Guardian says UN aid is going to groups closely linked to Bashar al-Assad's supporters
'I extend the warmest of welcomes to each and every one of our Syrian arrivals', Obama's national security advisor says
David Duke has urged white supremacist supporters to vote for Donald Trump
Three prominent pro-democracy leaders that have been held for more than a year have been released after their detention was deemed illegal
Two pilots are to appear in court after being arrested on suspicion of being drunk as they prepared to fly a passenger jet from Scotland to the US.
A European Commission spokesman said “the ball is still rolling” a day after Germany’s economy minister said the talks had “de facto failed.”
Caught between chronic economic instability and large numbers of migrants, Athens feels abandoned by fellow EU states
'We would oppose efforts to move south and engage in activities against the Syrian Democratic Forces,' Ben Rhodes says
'High-grade' nickel discovered in northwestern Kaduna state