October 31, 2011
A New York man has pleaded guilty to brokering the sale of black-market organs in what prosecutors said was the first US conviction for illegally selling human kidneys for profit.
Levy Izhak Rosenbaum pleaded guilty in an American federal court on Thursday to brokering three illegal kidney transplants for New Jersey-based customers in exchange for payments of $120,000 (¬£74,3000) or more. He also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to broker an illegal kidney sale.
Prosecutors say Rosenbaum would buy organs from vulnerable people in Israel for $10,000 and sell them to desperate patients. As part of the scheme, prosecutors say, the organ donors were brought from Israel to the US, where they underwent surgery to remove the kidneys. They did not identify which hospitals in the US received the donors and their kidneys.
Rosenbaum, 60, was arrested in 2009 in New Jersey’s largest-ever corruption sting. He was one of more than 40 people held, including politicians and rabbis in New Jersey and New York.