Fake Health Canada rep who sold phony ‘Star Trek’ gadget pleads guilty
BROOKLYN, Mich. – The FBI says an Illinois man accused of impersonating a Canadian deputy health minister as part of a fraud scheme has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft charges.
Howard Leventhal, 56, of Long Grove, Ill., was accused of trying to defraud a number if individuals and entities of millions of dollars by falsely claiming his company, Neovision, had a lucrative contract with the Canadian Health Department.
Leventhal pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment, for stealing the identity of Glenda Yeates. When sentenced on April 3, 2014, Leventhal faces up to 22 years in prison, $1,050,819.78 in forfeiture and restitution, and a fine of more than $2 million.
Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., heard Leventhal told potential investors Neovision had written agreements with Health Canada, whereby Neovision would provide Health Canada with “Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet.”
The device named after the fictional Dr. Leonard McCoy of TV’s Star Trek series purportedly delivers instantaneous and detailed patient data to physicians and other licensed health-care providers.
Prosecutors alleged earlier this year that Leventhal scammed Paragon Financial Group for $800,000 by claiming it could collect money he said Health Canada owed to his company.
Leventhal also used the purported agreement with Health Canada to solicit more than $25 million from other potential investors, including an undercover law enforcement agent. RCMP allege Leventhal tried to get a $2.5-million line of credit from TD Bank in Toronto in July.
“In Leventhal’s world, the truth was cloaked by his web of lies and impersonation. Within this alternate reality, Leventhal marketed non-existent technology, fabricated an online presence, and impersonated a government official, all to defraud investors out of very real money. His actions were the stuff of fantasy and science fiction, valid only in another dimension,” United States Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
© 2013 The Canadian Press