Canadian Deputy Health Minister Impersonator Sentenced To 60 Months’ Imprisonment In $26 Million Fraud Scheme
BROOKLYN, NY – Earlier today, Howard Leventhal, the President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of mHealth Technologies Corp., formerly named Neovision USA, Inc. (Neovision), was sentenced by United States District Judge Brian M. Cogan to 60 months’ imprisonment. In December 2013, Leventhal had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for defrauding and attempting to defraud a number of individuals and entities of millions of dollars by falsely claiming that Neovision had a lucrative contract with Canada’s Department of Health (Health Canada) and for stealing the identity of Glenda Yeates, Health Canada’s former Deputy Minister of Health. As part of the sentence, Leventhal was also sentenced to 3 years’ supervised release and ordered to pay $1,350,819.78 in forfeiture and restitution.
The sentence was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI).
“Leventhal used his considerable imagination, non-existent technology, and stolen identities to deceive a number of entities and individuals. Fortunately for investors, his alternate reality, propped up by fabricated bank documents, unraveled and collapsed when he attempted to defraud an undercover FBI agent. Today’s sentence sends a strong message to those who use lies and deceit to defraud investors that they will be held accountable for their crimes,” stated United States Attorney Capers. Mr. Capers expressed his appreciation to the FBI for their hard work and dedication over the course of this investigation and prosecution and thanked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Health Canada for their significant cooperation and assistance in the investigation.
“Stranger than fiction truly applies in this case with the subject using a popular sci-fi movie as the inspiration to scam millions of dollars from people. He also forged the signature of the Canadian deputy health minister, which not many people would question as legitimate. The FBI and our law enforcement partners do all we can every day to stop these fraudsters, but we can’t do it alone. This investigation serves as a warning to anyone thinking about investing any of their money, do the research and if everything doesn’t add up, we need them to call us,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
According to court filings and facts presented at the sentencing hearings, Leventhal told potential investors that Neovision had written agreements with Health Canada, whereby Neovision would provide Health Canada with “Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet,” a device ostensibly named after the fictional Dr. Leonard McCoy of TV’s Star Trek series. The written agreement provided by Leventhal to potential investors was purportedly signed by Glenda Yeates, Canada’s former Deputy Health Minister, on behalf of the government of Canada. For example, in May 2012, Leventhal used this agreement and entered into a factoring agreement with Paragon Financial Group, Inc. (Paragon”, a Florida company, whereby Paragon advanced Neovision $800,000 in exchange for Paragon’s right to collect a larger sum of money purportedly owed to Neovision by Health Canada. Leventhal also used the purported agreement with Health Canada to solicit more than $26 million from other potential investors, including an undercover law enforcement agent posing as a high net worth individual.
Contrary to Leventhal’s representations, (1) there was no agreement between Health Canada and Neovision, (2) Health Canada did not owe Neovision any money, and (3) Deputy Health Minister Glenda Yeates’ signature on the agreement was a forgery. To conceal his scheme, Leventhal assumed the identities of Health Canada representatives, including that of former Deputy Health Minister Glenda Yeates. Further, Leventhal created and used domain names, telephone numbers, and email addresses that closely resembled those actually used by Health Canada. For example, Leventhal created and used healthcanada.com.co and hc-sg-gc.ca in place of Health Canada’s true domain name hc-sc.gc.ca.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorney Winston M. Paes is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit ww.StopFraud.gov.