A Long Island Man Ran a Kidney Donation Scam Out of His Mom's House
For every person trying to save a loved one, there's one huckster trying to make a buck off that desperation. On Monday morning, the New York Attorney General's Office announced closure of Nephrologica, Inc., a "company" that charged clients exorbitant fees to procure kidney donations. Owner and CEO Michael Goldstein is required to issue refunds to all of his victims and shut down the business he was running out of a house he shares with his mother in Nassau County.
The A.G.'s Office became involved when a Chicago-area man complained that Goldstein charged him $6,000 to help him find a kidney for his ailing mother and never delivered.
But the craven exploitation of really sick people doesn't stop there. The agreement reached between the A.G.'s Office and Goldstein contains a laundry list of crooked practices at Nephrologica:
- Nephrologica operated as an incorporated entity between 2003 and 2009, when it dissolved as corporate entity but continued to operate without proper registration.
- The address listed as the corporate address was in fact a post office box.
- The Nephrologica website claimed to find "Healthy Living Compatible Donors" in as little as two weeks, despite the company never having located a kidney donor for a single client.
- Goldstein offered to pay a man in India to collect on one of his kidneys, violating state and federal laws on the sale of organs.
- Goldstein recruited potential clients on message boards in 2011, well after ceasing to be a registered business.
A Screengrab of Nephrologica's now-defunct website from 2012.
Goldstein is required to pay back the $6,000 to the Chicago complainant, shut down his website, as well as stay out of any business dealings involving people with health conditions for six years. The A.G. also tacked on a $5,000 payment to be made the A.G.'s office itself for the trouble of investigating his bogus business.
See the full complaint in the next page.
Send your story tips to the author, Raillan Brooks.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in New York, delivered to your inbox.