By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
An Illinois man has been arrested and charged on Tuesday on allegations that he defrauded a Florida company and attempted to defraud and undercover Brooklyn law enforcement agent. The defendant is currently detained in Illinois, and removal proceedings have been set in motion to have him brought to Brooklyn federal court to stand trial.
According the complaint, Howard Leventhal, 56, entered into an agreement with Paragon Financial Group, a Florida-based company, that for an advance of $800,000, Paragon could collect on the monies Canada’s Health Department purportedly owed to Leventhal’s health company, Neovision, USA Inc. Leventhal allegedly informed Paragon that Neovision had created a medical device for the Canadian government and was owed money on that contract. The device was called the Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet, which Leventhal claimed can instantaneously and effectively deliver detailed patient data to physicians and other licensed medical care providers.
Leventhal, to further his fraud, supposedly created fake online domain names to resemble Canada’s Health Department’s website and assumed the identity of various Canadian Health Department officials, including that of former Deputy Health Minister Glenda Yeates, the complaint asserts.
Seeking additional money from unsuspecting investors, Leventhal reached out to an individual he believed to be of substantial net worth residing in Brooklyn. The individual was an undercover agent and recorded phone conversations, which reveal Leventhal stating that his company had a series of contracts with Health Canada for Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet, and that his company had more than $18 million in sales for 2012.
“After stealing money from Paragon, Leventhal aggressively pursued his next victim-investor who, unbeknownst to him, was an undercover law enforcement agent,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos.
“Leventhal claimed to have lucrative connections within the Canadian government and cutting-edge technology that could help save lives,” said United States Attorney for the Eastern District Loretta Lynch. “In reality, his scheme was pure science fiction, complete with phony documents and a fictional medical device. Investors thought they were advancing scientific technology; instead they were merely financing Leventhal’s fraudulence,” she continued.
The charging papers assert that since there was no agreement between the Canadian Health Department and Neovision, Paragon advanced Leventhal $800,000 on pure misrepresentations. To date, Paragon has neither received a payment from Health Canada nor received a refund from Leventhal.
If convicted, Leventhal faces a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.