Friday, November 1, 2013
Organ Trafficking: An International Crime Infrequently Punished
Ok..here's the other comments..Even though there is no evidence to link Jon Corzine, late of IMF Global (who "misplaced" hundreds of millions of $$$) one time CEO of Goldman/Sachs, Senator and Gov. of New Jersey to the illegal organ trafficking probe in New jersey, he has had his fingers in all the financial pies on Wall street and in New Jersey for years and years..How does some one launder $100's of millions of dollars from New Jersey without at least some cooperation from the very top of the ladder..
The recent New Jersey corruption probe, which resulted in the arrest of 44 people including state legislators, government officials and several rabbis for running an international money laundering racket that trafficked human organs, has brought Israel into the spotlight for organ transplants. Despite some growing awareness, the international organ trade industry is not well understood due to lack of information and the widespread nature of the problem.
Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, 60, said he had helped secure the organs from people in Israel for U.S.-based customers in exchange for payments of $120,000 or more. His attorneys said Rosenbaum had performed a lifesaving service for desperately ill people who had been languishing on official transplant waiting lists.
But the feds weren't buying that line.
"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."
Operation Bid Rig is an ongoing, long-term investigation into political corruption in New Jersey conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey since 2002.
The investigation has resulted in the indictments of more than 60 public officials and politically connected individuals since its inception. In July 2009, sting operations resulted in the arrest of 44 people in New Jersey and New York, including 29 public servants and political operatives, and five orthodox rabbis from the Syrian Jewish community. A number of high-level New Jersey elected officials were arrested in the operation, including Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, Ridgefield Mayor Anthony R. Suarez, former Jersey City Housing Authority Commissioner and Chairwoman Lori Serrano, Jersey City Housing Authority Commissioner Edward Cheatam, Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith, Assemblyman Daniel M. Van Pelt, former Assemblyman and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Louis Manzo, and political operatives Joseph Cardwell and Jack Shaw.
real estate developer Solomon Dwek of Ocean Township was arrested on charges of committing $50 million in bank fraud in May 2006. Dwek, a well-known member of the Syrian Jewish community whose parents founded the Deal Yeshiva, agreed to become a cooperating witness for the FBI, infiltrating a money-laundering network connecting Israel and Syrian Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Deal, New Jersey. This network has allegedly laundered tens of millions of dollars through charitable non-profit organizations controlled by rabbis in New York and New Jersey. Among the rabbis implicated are Saul J. Kassin of Congregation Shaare Zion in Brooklyn, Eliahu Ben Haim of Congregation Ohel Yaacob in Deal, and Edmond Nahum of the Deal Synagogue.
According to criminal complaints, Dwek (identified as "CW" for "cooperating witness"), informed targets of the sting that he was bankrupt and trying to conceal his assets, claiming involvement in illegal businesses including the sale of counterfeit Gucci and Prada handbags, as well as insurance scams and bank frauds. The targets accepted checks made by Dwek made out to their charitable foundations and returned the money to him after deducting a fee. Much of the cash they provided him came from Israel, and some of that in turn came from a Swiss banker, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said that about $3 million had been laundered for Dwek since the beginning of the third phase of the operation in June 2007, much of the money coming from Israel.
A report by Global Financial Integrity estimates that illegal organ trade generates between $600 million and $1.2 billion in profits per year with a span across many countries. Donor countries include impoverished nations in South America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Recipient countries include the U.S., Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, and Japan. "Wealthy patients are paying up to £128,500 (roughly $191,028 today) for a kidney to gangs, often in China, India and Pakistan, who harvest the organs from desperate people for as little as £3,200 (roughly $4,756 today)," reports the Daily Mail.
Yet the first person ever convicted of organ trafficking in the U.S. only occurred in 2011, as reported in Bloomberg News. At that time, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum pleaded guilty to three counts of organ trafficking and one count of conspiracy in a federal court in New Jersey. Three people in New Jersey paid him a total $410,000 to arrange the sale of kidneys from healthy donors, he told the court, while an undercover FBI agent paid him $10,000.
Significantly, the U.S. did not charge or identify any of the people who bought kidneys through Rosenbaum.
Prosecutors allege Rosenbaum would buy organs from vulnerable people in Israel for as little as $10,000 and sell them to desperate patients for more than $100,000.
The transplants took place at top U.S. hospitals, including at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark McCarren said Rosenbaum engaged in the practice for up to a decade and made millions by exploiting desperate recipients and paying donors paltry sums.
a doctor with Albert Einstein Medical Center testified that Rosenbaum brought as many as 15 pairs of donors and recipients to the hospital for transplants from 1999 to 2002.