NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island “scam artist” has agreed to close up shop after authorities said he charged desperate customers to facilitate kidney donations, a violation of state and federal law.
The settlement agreement between Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Michael Goldstein also requires Goldstein to give full refunds to victims, authorities said.
Goldstein is the founder, owner and Chief Executive Officer of Long Island-based Nephrologica.
Goldstein’s website claimed the company offered “the quickest, most efficient process to locate a living compatible donor,” in as little as two weeks in some extreme cases, Schneiderman said. The average waiting time for a kidney can be up to five years.
From 2009 to 2013, Schneiderman said the company posted fake ads and bogus testimonials all over the Internet, “luring consumers desperate to help their loved ones find a kidney.”
Schneiderman said his office began investigating the company after a tip from a man who said he paid Nephrologic $6,000 to help find a kidney for his mother. He said the company refused to give him a refund after months of failing to provide help.
“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,” 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.”
Consumers with questions or who believe they were a victim should call the Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau Helpline at 1-800-428-9071.
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