Rabbis, Politicians Snared in FBI Sting
Corruption Probe Brings 44 Arrests In N.J. and N.Y.
By Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 24, 2009
NEW YORK, July 23 – A two-year federal probe into a money laundering operation taking place between the New York area and Israel ballooned into one of the biggest bribery and corruption sweeps in New Jersey history, netting three northern New Jersey mayors, two members of the New Jersey Legislature, a raft of local officials, five rabbis, and a Brooklyn man accused of trafficking in human kidneys, U.S. prosecutors said today.
FBI agents arrested 44 people in a series of morning raids, creating a dramatic scene of politicians and rabbis in traditional outfits handcuffed and being marched into the federal building in Newark, and then boarded onto a bus for the drive to the federal courthouse. Among those arrested were legislators L. Harvey Smith (D) and Daniel M. Van Pelt ®; Hoboken Mayor Peter J. Cammarano III; Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell; and Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez, as well as the deputy mayor and council president of Jersey City. The arrested rabbis included Saul Kassin, the chief rabbi for the tight-knit Syrian Jewish community in the United States, and the chief rabbis of synagogues in Brooklyn and Deal, N.J.
A Brooklyn man, Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, known in his circles as “the kidney salesman,” was also arrested as part of the sweep and charged with enticing vulnerable people in Israel to sell one of their kidneys for $10,000, and then charging waiting transplant patients in this country up to $160,000. He admitted brokering kidney sales for a decade, federal prosecutors said in the complaint.