A tricorder replica (Photo: Mike Seyfang/Flickr)
How would you react if an inventor approached you looking for financing for a device called the McCoy Home Health Tablet, inspired by Dr. Leonard McCoy's tricorder from Star Trek? What if he was brandishing a contract from the Canadian government for $8.4 million? Would that sweeten the deal?
The pitch apparently snared a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company called Paragon Financial Group, which put about $800,000 of its money into Neovision USA, a company headed by an Illinois man named Howard Leventhal. Now Leventhal has been arrested and charged with wire fraud by federal prosecutors in the United States, reports Bloomberg.
“Leventhal claimed to have lucrative connections within the Canadian government and cutting edge technology that could help save lives,” U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement. “In reality, his scheme was pure science fiction, complete with phony documents and a fictional medical device.”
Among those documents was an alleged contract with Health Canada, complete with what prosecutors say is a forged signature by Glenda Yates, who was Canada's Deputy Minister of Health until she retired in August. That document included this description of the device: “Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet, named after the fictional Dr. Leonard McCoy of TV’s Star Trek series, is designed as a platform to maximize the patient benefits through broadband-augmented in-home telemedicine.”
He was finally arrested after allegedly presenting an undercover agent with phony paperwork in an attempt to solicit an additional $2.5 million investment.
Leventhal's court-appointed attorney, Gary Adair, told Bloomberg that his client, who was released on $100,000 bail, will contest the charges, which have not been proven in court.
William Shatner (a.k.a. Captain James T. Kirk) is on the show tonight. Be sure to tune in at 7 p.m. on CBC TV.