Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently announced that his office has reached a settlement with Michael T. Goldstein of Freeport, founder, owner and Chief Executive Officer of Nephrologica, a Long Island company that falsely claimed to be able to help seriously ill people find living kidney donors for a fee. Goldstein and his company also offered financial rewards to potential kidney donors in violation of state and federal law. The settlement agreement requires Goldstein to provide complete refunds to victims of his scam. It further requires him to shut down the company, which was run out of his Freeport home.
“There are more than 8,000 people waiting for kidney donors in New York State, and those patients and their loved ones must not be preyed upon in this manner," Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This scam artist has now been stopped, and my office will continue to seek to ensure that businesses that provide services to people with serious diseases conduct themselves with transparency and integrity.”
New York State and federal law prohibit paying a donor for a human organ. People in need of kidney transplants can register with the national waiting list managed by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS): they may find donors via legitimate donor-matching organizations or they may seek out donors on their own. The average waiting time for a kidney can be up to five years. Those interested in donating their organs can register with the Donate Life Registry, which is managed by the New York State Department of Health. While no one may be paid for donating, donors may, by law, obtain reimbursement for their related expenses, including travel, lodging and lost wages. In addition, New York law prohibits false advertising and deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any business.