More than two years after he was first arrested, the Associated Press reports that, 60 year old Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn, NY pleaded guilty in Federal Court in Trenton for “brokering three illegal kidney transplants for New Jersey-based customers in exchange for payments of $120,000 or more. He also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to broker an illegal kidney sale, making him the “first ever proven black-marketeer of organ trafficking in the United States.
Levy Rosenbaum now faces a maximum five-years in prison as well as fines of up to $250,000 for each count. In addition. he has agreed to turn over $420,000 in real or personal property that was garnered from the illegal kidney sales.
Although authorities claim that Rosenbaum was “fully aware he was running an illicit and profitable operation (which included buying organs from vulnerable people in Israel for $10,000, and selling them to desperate, wealthy American patients),” his lawyers Richard Finkel and Ronald Kleinberg contended in a statement that he “ had performed a life-saving service for desperately ill people who had been languishing on official transplant waiting lists,” adding that “the transplants were successful and the donors and recipients are now leading full and healthy lives.”
“In fact, because of the transplants and for the first time in many years, the recipients are no longer burdened by the medical and substantial health dangers associated with dialysis and kidney failure,” the statement continued.
It was also argued that Rosenbaum had never sought out donors, but was contacted by people willing to give up their kidneys on their own.
“A black market in human organs is not only a grave threat to public health, it reserves lifesaving treatment for those who can best afford it at the expense of those who cannot,” said New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney, Paul Fishman. “We will not tolerate such an affront to human dignity.”
To learn more about kidney transplants here in Connecticut, readers can contact Hartford Hospital, which has been performing them successfully since 1971. The Hospital is located at 80 Seymour St., Hartford, CT 06102 860 545-5000.