Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- An Illinois man who persuaded a company to provide almost $1 million in financing for a telemedicine computer tablet named after the physician on the “Star Trek” TV show was arrested for fraud, according to federal prosecutors.
Howard Leventhal also allegedly presented an undercover U.S. agent posing as an investor with a fake contract to supply the Canadian government with a make-believe device.
“Leventhal claimed to have lucrative connections within the Canadian government and cutting edge technology that could help save lives,” U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch in Brooklyn, New York, said in a statement today announcing Leventhal’s arrest on a wire fraud charge. “In reality, his scheme was pure science fiction, complete with phony documents and a fictional medical device.”
Leventhal, 56, last year told executives at Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Paragon Financial Group. Inc. that Health Canada owed him as much as $4 million and that the agency had agreed to purchase the “McCoy Home Health Tablet” from his company, Neovision USA, according to the complaint.
After that meeting, Leventhal sent Paragon officials what he said was a contract between Neovision and the Canadian government, with a forged signature by Deputy Health Minister Glenda Yeates, for $8.4 million CAD ($8.2 million USD), according to the complaint. The purported contract included a document describing the device.
“Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet, named after the fictional Dr. Leonard McCoy of TV’s Star Trek series, is designed as a platform to maximize the patient benefits through broadband-augmented in-home telemedicine,” according to the document.
Paragon was duped into giving Leventhal $800,000, according to prosecutors. Leventhal later gave the forged Canadian government paperwork and phony bank statements to the undercover agent in a bid to secure $2.5 million more in financing, according to the complaint.
Leventhal, of Long Grove, Illinois, appeared today in federal court in Chicago. He was released on a $100,000 bond and ordered to attend an Oct. 30 hearing in Brooklyn, said his court-appointed attorney, Gary Adair.
Adair said Leventhal intends to contest the charge against him.
Now a franchise of Viacom Inc,’s Paramount Pictures, “Star Trek” began as a three-year NBC television series about the crew of the interstellar spaceship USS Enterprise in the 23rd century. It has since spun off four more television series and a dozen feature films.
The case is U.S. v. Leventhal, 13-mj-00902, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in federal court in Chicago at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at email@example.com