What do you get when you cross Star Trek jargon, a decent knowledge of Photoshop and Florida? Well, judging by Howard Leventhal’s attempt to secure around $US3 million in funding for a fake tricorder, the answer is one impressively delusional case of fraud.
Last year, Laventhal decided to tell executives at Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Paragon Financial Group, Inc. that Health Canada was backing Laventhal’s very own McCoy Home Health Tablet that — you guessed it — takes its name from Star Trek’s Leonard H. McCoy himself. But that’s not all the two shared in common; just like Leonard, the tablet was also 100 per cent not a real thing. But that didn’t stop Leventhal from accepting the $US800,000 in funding before taking his personal science fiction saga a few steps further.
Next, Leventhal forged phony contracts between his (also fake) company Neovision USA and the Canadian government; this included forging Deputy Health Minister Glenda Yeates’ signature. But apparently the fake Candian government is awfully generous with their imaginary money — the contract purported to offer Leventhal $US8.2 million in funding.
It also, as Bloomberg reports, included the following 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 maximise the patient benefits through broadband-augmented in-home telemedicine.
Maximise! Benefits! Broadband! Yet despite all these delightfully meaningless buzzwords, Leventhal never got the additional $US2.5 million he was asking for, which probably had something to do with the fact that he gave his fake contracts to an undercover agent posing as a Paragon employee.
While Leventhal is currently out on a $US100,000 bond, he’s scheduled for a hearing in Brooklyn on October 30. And according to Bloomberg, Leventhal will be contesting the charges. Consequently, we’re now accepting bets on the fictional series from which he’ll draw his defence. Current odds favour The Matrix. [Bloomberg]