Steven Henning, CPA, a former partner-in-charge of advisory services at New York City-based Marks Paneth, could have as long as 20 years to think about his choices:
Steven Henning pled guilty today [June 24] to participating in two wire fraud schemes. In the first, he falsely claimed to have entered into multimillion-dollar intellectual property deals and defrauded investors out of $2 million. In the second, he falsely claimed to have entered into client engagements and defrauded an employer out of over $270,000.
While employed at the accounting firm, Henning formed OpportunIP in June 2008, which he told investors was a company specializing in assisting other entities in taking intellectual property to the market, authorities said.
Henning had also worked as an accounting professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and in 2012 he told one of his former students about OpportunIP.
He convinced his former student and a relative of the student to invest $2 million in OpportunIP, according to published reports.
Henning 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.
After leaving Marks Paneth, Henning sought employment with a firm in Chicago. Authorities said he tried to get the Chicago firm to hire him and provide him with $240,000 in draw payments based on false and fraudulent statements and contracts he sent the firm.
Henning was arrested in Florida last October. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 18.
Wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, authorities said.