Long Grove man arrested in fraud scheme
Federal agents arrested a Long Grove man at his home Tuesday morning on charges that he defrauded a Florida company of $800,000 and attempted to defraud an undercover agent of $2.5 million.
Howard Leventhal, 56, was charged in federal court with one count of wire fraud.
After a court appearance in Chicago Tuesday, he was released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond. His next court date is Oct. 30 at a federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y.
If convicted, Leventhal would face a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Attempts to reach Leventhal and his attorney for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.
According to federal prosecutors, Leventhal falsely claimed his company, Neovision USA Inc., had a lucrative contract with Canada's Department of Health, known as Health Canada. The complaint said Leventhal entered into a factoring agreement with a Florida company, Paragon Financial Group, which wired him $800,000 in exchange for the right to collect a larger sum of money purportedly owed to Neovision by Health Canada.
A factoring agreement is where a company purchases another company's account receivables. The seller benefits from the quick cash, and the buyer avoids creating debt on a balance sheet.
Prosecutors said Leventhal assumed the identities of Health Canada representatives, including the deputy health minister, creating fake websites and emails that look like those actually used by Health Canada.
However, no agreement between Neovision and Health Canada existed, and Health Canada did not owe Neovision money, the complaint stated.
Leventhal is also accused of attempting to defraud an undercover FBI agent posing as a wealthy investor in Brooklyn. As alleged in the complaint, Leventhal used the same fraudulent agreement he used with Paragon, but also sent six months of fabricated Bank of America statements showing $10 million in payments from Health Canada to Neovision between March and July 2013.
Prosecutors said Neovision's actual bank statements do not show any payments from Health Canada.
"As alleged, Leventhal claimed to have lucrative connections within the Canadian government and cutting edge technology that could help save lives. In reality, his scheme was pure science fiction, complete with phony documents and a fictional medical device," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
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