The Attorney General’s investigation also revealed that, from 2009 to 2013, Nephrologica posted solicitations on various Internet sites seeking living kidney donors, promising that the company would cover all travel expenses and up to $10,000 in “missed work earnings.” Offers of compensation for an organ violate the law. Individuals from around the country and the world responded to these ads. In one instance, an individual from India wrote by email that he was willing to donate his kidney for his “financial problems.” Nephrologica’s response was to ask for his blood type, suggesting that Goldstein intended to purchase his organ.
As a result of the Attorney General’s investigation, Nephrologica agreed to cease doing business immediately in New York State and nationally. The settlement bars Goldstein from conducting or operating any business in New York that provides direct services, including assistance in locating kidney donors, to persons with health conditions for six years. Nephrologica has refunded the $6,000 payment to the complainant and has agreed to provide refunds to all others. Consumers with questions or who believe they were a victim of this fraud may call the Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau Helpline at 1-800-428-9071. Under the settlement, Goldstein will also remit $5,000 to defray the costs of the Attorney General’s investigation.
The investigation was conducted by Assistant Attorney General Michael D. Reisman, with the assistance of Health Care Advocate Peter Panych and Investigator Bradford Farrell, under the supervision of Health Care Bureau Chief Lisa Landau, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Alvin Bragg and First Deputy for Affirmative Litigation Janet Sabel.