TRENTON – An Israeli citizen who made headlines three years ago when he was arrested for brokering illegal kidney transplants was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison.
Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, 61, previously pleaded not guilty to brokering the kidney transplants in exchange for at least $120,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Rosenbaum made headlines when he was caught up in Operation Bid Rig, a long-term investigation into political corruption in the state that resulted in more than 40 arrests.
Rosenbaum, who resided in Brooklyn, is the first person to be convicted under the federal statute on the black market sale of kidneys from paid donors, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
“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.
“Prison is an appropriate punishment for Levy Rosenbaum’s illegal capitalization on others’ desperation,” he said. “Although Rosenbaum painted himself as a benevolent kidney matchmaker, the criminal profits went right into his pocket.”
In addition to time behind bars, Rosenbaum was ordered to serve three years probation, pay a $5,000 fine and forfeit approximately $420,000, officials said.
Rosenbaum was exposed by a cooperating criminal defendant, Solomon Dwek, and an undercover FBI agent.