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Chicago-area man admits bilking hospitals seeking face masks

March 2, 2022 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — A suburban Chicago businessman has admitted to swindling two hospitals that had sought coveted protective face masks in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dennis W. Haggerty Jr. of Burr Ridge pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Chicago to wire fraud and money laundering charges. He now likely faces a sentence of about three years in prison and an order directing him to pay more than $2.5 million in restitution.

His sentencing is set for May 25.

Haggerty, 45, was first charged in a criminal complaint filed in November 2020. Prosecutors said Haggerty, the onetime president of the biotechnology company At Diagnostics Inc., cheated two large university hospitals in Chicago and Iowa City, Iowa.

Court records identify the hospitals as Northwestern Memorial Healthcare and University of Iowa Medical Center.

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The hospitals allegedly ordered one million N95 face masks from At Diagnostics and, combined, paid more than $3 million for them, according to the complaint. The hospitals deposited the money into a bank account that was supposedly the company’s but was controlled only by Haggerty.

He allegedly used some of the money for his personal benefit, including on credit cards, two Maseratis and a Range Rover.