Online organ donor broker charged with wire fraud

Defendant allegedly took tens of thousands of dollars from sick people

The operator of Liver4you.org is facing wire fraud charges for an alleged scheme to use the Web site to entice people needing organ transplants to wire tens of thousands of dollars to the Philippines in exchange for nonexistent surgeries, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Jerome Howard Feldman appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court for Guam after his Feb. 2 arrest in Manila on immigration violations. Feldman was indicted on Feb. 11 by a grand jury in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

Feldman will be transported to Syracuse, New York, to face the wire fraud charges.

Feldman faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to US$250,000 on the wire fraud charges. Also pending against Feldman are federal health care fraud charges in Florida from 1999, and racketeering, money laundering and stolen property charges filed in Florida in 2001.

The indictment accuses Feldman of posing as a doctor in the Philippines who was arranging organ transplants. Feldman's alleged Web site, Liver4you.org, remained in operation as of Thursday afternoon. An e-mail seeking comment about the case, sent to an address listed at the site, received no response Thursday.

An investigation of Feldman began last June, when a woman filed a complaint with the DeWitt, New York, Police Department. The woman, after finding Liver4you.org, exchanged e-mail messages with a Dr. Mitch Michaelson, who suggested her husband should come to the Philippines for a liver transplant.

The couple wired $70,000 to an account in the name of Alberto Gomez at a bank in DeWitt, and Michaelson promised the money would cover all the expenses for the transplant, the DOJ said.

In July, the husband died of liver failure at a Philippines hospital without receiving a transplant.

Doctors treating the husband told his wife that nobody at the hospital had ever heard of Dr. Mitch Michaelson. After the husband's death, Michaelson stopped all communication with the wife, the DOJ said.

The widow had to pay an additional $20,000 of hospital fees in the Philippines, the DOJ said.

An investigation by the DeWitt Police Department, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York State Police found other victims of the same transplant scheme. About $400,000 was wired to the Gomez account in DeWitt, the DOJ said.

Law enforcement authorities alleged that Michaelson and Gomez were aliases of Feldman's, who was living in Manila under the name Michael Adams.

Tags fraud

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?