With all the healthcare hullabaloo taking over the public consciousness as of late, people are in dire need of more easily accessible personal medical testing. And there’s no better place to look for potential future tech than Star Trek, that bastion of advanced concepts. Illinois resident Howard Leventhal, 56, recently claimed he’d created a device similar to the all-in-one tricorder used in the classic series, but instead of actually showing anyone the product or what he said it could do, he blindly milked a ton of money out of investors before getting caught by an undercover agent posing as another potential buyer. Too bad he didn’t have a mocked-up Enterprise to allow himself a hasty getaway.
Last year, Leventhal contacted executives at the Fort Lauderdale company Paragon Financial Group, Inc. claiming that he was owed upwards of $4 million from Health Canada, saying the agency had previously agreed to buy his “McCoy Home Health Tablet” device that he’d created through his company Neovision USA. The product was described as such in a document Leventhal provided: “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.” It doesn’t quite sound too good to be true, but rather too bullshitty to be real.
But Leventhal then produced a contract between the Canadian government and Neovision for $8.4 million CAD, on which was the signature of Deputy Health Minister Glenda Yeates. All quite kosher, right? It seemed to be so legitimate that Paragon actually sent Leventhal $800,000 to fund production of his device. But instead of taking the money and running, or perhaps actually creating the device, Leventhal pushed his greed forward and attempted to secure another $2.5 million from another “buyer,” sending that person all of the forged paperwork and made-up financial statements. That was a terrible move, as it ended up being an undercover U.S. federal agent. One has to wonder just how many people Leventhal thought his miracle device would fool.
Leventhal was then arrested for fraud, later released on a $100,000 bond. He’s now required to attend an October 30th hearing in Brooklyn, though his court-appointed attorney Gary Adair stated the charges will be contested. Not quite sure how that defense will work, but he should probably avoid wearing a red shirt to the hearing.
Stories about working tricorders have come up fairly regularly over the last couple of years, with a huge $10 million prize for anyone who can actually create one. Should one ever come to exist, I’m guessing it’ll have a more detailed description than “broadband-augmented in-home telemedicine.” If laughter really is the best medicine, then this guy’s story will probably heal more people than his health tablet would have.
Take a peek at one of the latest claims below.