Israeli sentenced in first US organ trafficking conviction

The first US conviction for organ trafficking has ended in a two-and-a-half year jail sentence for an Israeli citizen living in New York. Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, 61, of Brooklyn, may be deported after he leaves jail. Mr Rosenbaum brokered kidneys from three donors in Israel for patients in New Jersey. Unfortunately for him, he was nabbed in a sting operation which also netted 40 others, who were involved in various forms of corruption.

Prosecutors said Rosenbaum advertised in Israeli newspapers for donors. After he arranged a tissue match, he helped the donors and the recipients concoct a cover story describing them as close relatives so that hospitals would think that it was an altruistic donation (which is legal), rather than a commercial transaction (which is not. He charged a fee of about US$150,000. He was recorded bragging that he had organised many such deals.

"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," said prosecuting attorney Paul J. Fishman. ~ NJ Star-Ledger, July 11

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