Canadian Health Minister Impersonator Involved in $26 Million Fraud Scheme

Canadian Health Minister Impersonator Involved in $26 Million Fraud Scheme

On tuesday, December 6, Howard Leventhal, the President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Health Technologies Corp., formerly named Neovision USA, Inc. (Neovision), was sentenced 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).

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.