Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) July 30, 2009 -- Illegal businesses might show a slight hiccup in the most densely populated state, New Jersey, where the selling of body parts and false Gucci handbags, to money laundering, has ruled supreme. Forty-four people were arrested, in an FBI sting, many of them city officials. This is the culmination of a 10-year long investigation.
The anti-corruption sweep included the mayor of Hoboken, the three-weeks-in-office, 32 year old Peter Cammarano. Five rabbis and their associates, plus two other mayors were also arrested, several city councilmen, two state assemblymen, regulatory inspectors local commissioners and other government officials.
"The list of people we arrested sounds like it should be the roster from a meeting of community leaders. But sadly they weren't meeting in a boardroom this morning. They were in the FBI booking room," said head of the FBI's Newark office, Weysan Dun.
The money-for-access scheme involved mayors receiving cash in diners, rabbis depositing untraceable money in charities, to Levy Izhak Rosenbaum selling body parts.
'The kidney man', Rosenbaum, has been charged with purchasing kidneys from vulnerable donors in Israel for $10,000 and onselling them to transplant recipients in America for $160,000. Roesenbaum has been selling illegal kidneys for 10 years. "I am what you call a matchmaker", he told undercover agents.
A northern New Jersey real estate developer and son of a prominent rabbi in the Syrian community in Deal, N.J., turned government witness, after being arrested for defrauding a bank of $25 million. He was released on a $10 million bail. He will receive credits for assisting the FBI with their investigation.
During a three year period the witness, who FBI trained as an undercover agent, met with government officials, who took a total of $650,000 in bribes. Rabbis and their associates cleaned millions of dollars for the witness, through charities and connections reaching from Deal to Brooklyn, Israel to Switzerland.
Patrick Murray, who has been a New Jersey voter for more than three decades, said residents of the country's most thickly populated state were so used to corruption problems they no longer took any notice of the scandals. "They donât see any way out of it".
Even though people knew an FBI investigation had been operating since 1999 and there have been 130 arrests and convictions, the corruption continued unabated. A lot of people were on the take from the corruption, so there were few prepared to voluntarily whistle blowers.
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