The Kosher Nostra is trapped at last
Chris Stephen - 25 July 2009
MONEY laundering, organ smuggling, racketeering and $97,000 hidden in a cornflakes box – all allegations levelled this week when the FBI announced one of its biggest-ever organised crime busts in New Jersey.
But this bust came with a difference: the ring-leaders are orthodox rabbis.
The five Sephardic rabbis, all from orthodox Syrian Jewish communities in New Jersey and Brooklyn, are accused of selling kidneys and laundering tens of millions of dollars through fake charities.
“These complaints paint a disgraceful picture of religious leaders leading money-laundering crews, acting as crime bosses,” said federal prosecutor Ralph Marra.
“These rings were international in scope, they trafficked in the cleaning of dirty money all across the world.”
Mr Marra singled out Brooklyn Rabbi Levy Izhak Rosenbaum as operator of a kidney smuggling operation: “Mr Rosenbaum, who we refer to as our kidney salesman – his business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 that he would sell for $160,000.”
The arrests sent shockwaves across the orthodox Jewish community where the rabbis had a reputation for working hard for children and the elderly.