Illinois man uses ‘Star Trek’ technology to defraud investors of $25 million
An Illinois man pleaded guilty on Monday in a $25 million fraud case predicated on technology from the television and film franchise Star Trek.
According to prosecutors, Howard Leventhal told potential investors that Neovision USA, Inc. had written agreements with Canada’s deputy health minister to provide the country with “Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet,” a device not unlike the “tricorder” used by the fictional doctor “Leonard McCoy” in Star Trek.
“In Leventhal’s world, the truth was cloaked by his web of lies and impersonation. Within this alternate reality, Leventhal marketed nonexistent technology, fabricated an online presence, and impersonated a government official, all to defraud investors out of very real money,” U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
“His actions were the stuff of fantasy and science fiction, valid only in another dimension.”
Potential investors were provided documents purportedly signed by Glenda Yeates, Canada’s former deputy health minister. Leventhal duped a Florida company into advancing him $800,000, and in the end had solicited over $25 million from a host of different investors.
He was eventually caught after accepting a $2.5 million donation from an undercover FBI agent “posing a high net worth individual.” In recordings made by the agent, Leventhal boasted of sales of $18 million in 2012, and provided the agent with six months of fabricated bank statements from Bank of America.
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