Suburban Chicago Businessman Charged With Swindling Hospitals in Connection With Attempted Purchase of $2.6 Million in PPE
CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago businessman has been charged with fraud for allegedly swindling more than $2.6 million from hospitals who paid for scarce personal protective equipment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago charges DENNIS W. HAGGERTY, JR., the president of Illinois-based At Diagnostics Inc., with one count of wire fraud. Haggerty, 44, of Burr Ridge, Ill., was arrested this morning. He is scheduled to make an initial court appearance today at 2:45 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole in Chicago.
Also today, federal law enforcement executed a court-authorized search of Haggerty’s office in Willowbrook, Ill.
The complaint and arrest were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Eichenseer.
According to the complaint, Haggerty and two business partners formed At Diagnostics in March 2020 to sell personal protective equipment. Two large university hospitals – one in Chicago and the other in Iowa City, Iowa – ordered a combined one million N95 face masks from the company. As a deposit on the masks, the hospitals paid more than $3 million into a bank account that Haggerty falsely represented as an At Diagnostics account but which was actually solely controlled by Haggerty, the complaint states. The complaint alleges that Haggerty spent part of the hospitals’ funds for his own personal benefit, including purchasing two Maserati automobiles and a Land Rover sport-utility vehicle.
When At Diagnostics failed to deliver the masks on time, Haggerty allegedly falsely claimed to one hospital that his bank had no record of the payment being received. After his business partners confronted Haggerty about the whereabouts of the money, Haggerty altered a bank statement to make it appear as if the funds had never been received, the complaint states.
To date, Haggerty has failed to return more than $2.6 million paid by the hospitals for masks that were never delivered, the complaint states.
The charge in the complaint is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.