The partner of a Manhattan accounting firm with offices in Westchester has been arrested for allegedly bilking investors out of $2 million.
Steven Henning, a CPA who was employed at an accounting firm in Manhattan, was arrested in Florida this week for wire fraud.
The arrest comes in connection to a scheme in which he falsely claimed to have entered into a multimillion-dollar intellectual property deal to defraud his investors. He was arraigned this week in federal court in Jacksonville.
According to Geoffrey Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in June 2008, Henning, 57, formed OpportunIP, a business that had offices in Purchase and Tarrytown, where he acted as CEO. OpportunIP “established partnerships with owners or developers of intellectual property and assisted them in taking it to market in exchange for a substantial percentage share of future profits.”
While running OpportunIP, Henning lied to investors about entering into a $35 million deal, claiming they would receive $2 million. However, several of the deals Henning listed were fraudulent, though he continued to have hundreds of thousands of dollars wired to him by investors.
Up until last year, Berman said that Henning “continued to make false representations about the supposed progress he was making in securing deals for OpportunIP and he indicated that he was ready to have (his victims) become more involved in OpportunIP’s operations.”
In August last year, during a search of Henning’s Manhattan office, investigators recovered several of the fraudulent documents, which all “contained taped-on signatures of executives on their signature pages.”
Henning has been charged with wire fraud. If he is convicted, he will face a maximum term of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
“Steven Henning, a CPA at a Manhattan accounting firm, established his own firm called OpportunIP, which he allegedly told victims was a company specializing in assisting other entities in taking intellectual property to the market," Berman said. "Henning allegedly induced victims to invest in OpportunIP by providing them with false documents showing OpportunIP’s involvement in multi-million dollar transactions that would reap millions of dollars in future profits.
"Ultimately, the victims learned that the deals did not exist and they were victims of an alleged scheme to defraud them out of millions of dollars.”
USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett added, “Mr. Henning’s claims were nothing more than a bag of lies. Law enforcement reminds investors to research all investment opportunities thoroughly to avoid being scammed.”
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