por John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | November 13, 2020
A suburban Chicago businessman has been charged with wire fraud for allegedly conning more than $2.6 million from hospitals who ordered personal protective equipment from his company during the pandemic.
Dennis Haggerty Jr., the president of At Diagnostics Inc., appeared in court Tuesday after being arrested that morning, with federal law enforcement conducting a court-authorized search of his office in Willowbrook, Illinois. A criminal complaint charging Haggerty was filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago and alleges that he swindled one university hospital in Chicago and another in Iowa City out of a combined $3 million spent on one million N95 masks from At Diagnostics, which was formed in March for the sale of PPE.
Haggerty allegedly placed the money in an account that he said was an At Diagnostics account but was, in reality, solely controlled by him. He is accused of using parts of the funding to buy two Maserati automobiles and a Land Rover sport utility vehicle; write out a $20,000 check to his girlfriend; spend $5,809 at Home Depot; withdraw $6,000 through a check written to cash; and cash another 17 checks for $141,750 in cash, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
The complaint goes on to say that Haggerty falsely claimed to one hospital that his bank showed no record of receiving the payment after it complained that the masks had not arrived and demanded a refund. He also is accused of altering a bank statement to make his business partners believe the funds were never received. He has not returned more than $2.6 million paid by the hospitals for masks that were never delivered.
The complaint did not name the hospitals but a spokeswoman for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City told The Chicago Tribune that university officials contacted the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI “after At Diagnostics did not return the funds sent in escrow when the purchase was canceled.”
If convicted, Haggerty faces up to 20 years in prison in accordance with the charges in the complaint. The complaint is not evidence of guilt.