Illinois man faces 22 years for impersonating Canadian health official

Dec. 24, 2013 at 1:58 AM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- An Illinois man pleaded guilty to wire fraud and stealing the identity of Health Canada's former deputy minister of health, the FBI said Monday in New York.

Howard Leventhal's actions were aimed at defrauding a number of individuals and entities of millions of dollars by falsely claiming his company, Neovision USA Inc., had a lucrative contract with Canada's Department of Health, Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George Venizelos, assistant director in charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, said in a statement.

Leventhal, 56, also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment, for stealing the identity of Glenda Yeates, Health Canada's former deputy minister of health. His sentencing is scheduled for April 3, 2014, and he faces more than $3 million in fines and 22 years in prison.

"In Leventhal's world, the truth was cloaked by his web of lies and impersonation. Within this alternate reality, Leventhal marketed non-existent technology, fabricated an online presence, and impersonated a government official, all to defraud investors out of very real money. His actions were the stuff of fantasy and science fiction, valid only in another dimension. Today's guilty plea marks the end of Leventhal's elaborate scheme and demonstrates this office's steadfast commitment to protect investors from fraud," Lynch said.

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