A Kick in the Kidneys
The American Lawyer | July 27, 2015
By Michael D. Goldhaber
It's been called "the most brazen case of Jersey-style corruption—ever." The "Jersey Sting" of 2009 netted five money-laundering rabbis, the mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus, and a former burlesque star named Hope Diamond who had become deputy mayor of Jersey City. But easily the most colorful figure was an ultra-Orthodox kibitzer and self-confessed schmearer named Levy Izhak Rosenbaum. For a decade Rosenbaum hawked Israeli kidneys with impunity at American medical establishments from Einstein Medical Center to Johns Hopkins Hospital.
As the first and only use of the National Organ Transplantation Act, Rosenbaum's prosecution and 2011 guilty plea drew attention to a shadowy trade that, according to the nonprofit Organs Watch, rips 10,000 kidneys each year from the bodies of the world's most desperate. Europe experienced a similar moment in 2013, when an EU court in Kosovo convicted five members of a kidney trafficking ring, and sentenced the clinic's medical director to eight years in prison. Organ trafficking came out of the shadows in Africa and Latin America in 2010, when the Netcare KwaZulu hospital group pleaded guilty to aiding the transplant of black market kidneys that mostly originated in Brazil...