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Brooklyn man is 1st person in U.S. convicted of human-organ trafficking

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A Brooklyn man on Thursday became the first U.S. citizen convicted of human organ trafficking Thursday after he admitted to illegally brokering three kidney transplants, the New Jersey U.S. attorney said.

Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, 60, admitted in Trenton federal court to illegally setting up three kidney transplants with organs found abroad for $120,000 more, and he told an FBI undercover agent that he had done "quite a lot" more over during the past 10 years.

"Rosenbaum admitted he was not new to the human kidney business when he was caught brokering what he thought was a black market deal," New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

"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. We will not tolerate such an affront to human dignity."

Rosenbaum, of Borough Park, said that between January 2006 and February 2009, he helped arrange three kidney transplants for wealthy Jersey residents, with prices at $120,000, $140,000 and $150,000. Most of the cost, he said, went to covering all of the expenses.

His attorneys painted a picture of a man who helped out those in need.

"The transplants were successful and the donors and recipients are now leading full and healthy lives ... the recipients are no longer burdened by the medical and substantial health dangers associated with dialysis and kidney failure," his attorneys, Ronald Kleinberg and Richard Finkel, said in a statement, the AP reported.

Rosenbaum faces up to 20 years in prison, and forked over $420,000 he made through the scheme.

He is due back in court Feb. 2 for sentencing. His attorney didn't return calls for comment.

Follow reporter Tim Herrera on Twitter: @tim_herrera