An exclusive report, only from Miss Fortune. All the details, including the warnings the feds ignored!
Less than three days after Robert Buckhannon made September 19, 2016 flight reservation for an upcoming trip from Miami, Florida to Guayaquil, Ecuador, the Assistant U. S. Attorney prosecuting his case received extensive information detailing Buckhannon's recent business dealings with Zia Shlaimoun, a hedge fund associate who may be called to testify during the upcoming trial — and apparently chose to ignore it.
On October 7, Buckhannon's Las Vegas attorney, Michael V. Cristalli, filed stipulation and proposed order seeking approval to modify his client's conditions of supervision so that his client can “travel to Ecuador to celebrate his mother’s 75th birthday”. The order was approved by a judge on October 11.
According to the terms of his original October 2, 2014 bond agreement, Buckhannon “shall not obtain new bank accounts or lines of credit” or “solicit monies from investors”.
But as I revealed July 21, 2015 in a post on this blog, Buckhannon has been involved with Nevada-based Clinical Testing Corp LLC as the lab's Executive Vice President of New Business Development.
John Rittenour, the lab's CEO, wrote a letter to Buckhannon's attorney on June 23, 2015, claiming that Buckhannon's job required him to travel throughout the lower 48 states and Hawaii.
But a scheduled stop at McLaren Health System in Flint caught my eye: McLaren has its own 40,000 square foot lab facility and does all health system related testing in-house.
So, I sent the following email to the Assistant U. S. Attorney prosecuting Buckhannon, detailing my suspicions and the result of my own investigation. (What I didn't know then was that Buckhannon, instead of working for Clinical Testing Corp, was actually working with Goldstar Laboratories, a company formed by Zia Shlaimoun, a former hedge fund associate and first cousin of Buckhannon's wife, Marlena Michaels!)
More about that tomorrow.
Here's the email I sent to Newman:
I have reason to believe that Robert Buckhannon may have not been truthful regarding his need to travel on behalf of his job with Clinical Testing Corp LLC.
I'm a marketing copywriter, and also write a fraud/crime blog.
After writing a story nearly two years ago about the nephew of a Scientologist (Per Wickstrom) a former car salesman who owns a string of Narconon-based substance abuse treatment centers, I discovered Robert Buckhannon, then a Battle Creek chiropractor and owner of the On Deck Sports Bar.
The nephew, Stephen Anderson, had invested a significant sum of money with Buckhannon on behalf of the bar, and Anderson ultimately sued Buckhannon. He still owes Anderson the money.
At that time, I dubbed Buckhannon the "Crooked Chiropractor". Buckhannon’s current boss (John Rittenour) claimed in a June 23, 2015 letter that as Executive Vice President of New Business Development for Nevada-based Clinical Testing Corp LLC, Buckhannon is required to "travel to manage" the company's education and sales training for a "national network of Account Executives".
On its website, Clinical Testing Corp LLC claims to pride itself on acquiring "the latest technology and collaborating with the sharpest minds in the field of clinical toxicology", saying in other marketing materials that "urine drug testing and confirmation testing is extremely important in the field of clinical toxicology for any doctor prescribing medication to a patient".
At first glance, Buckhannon's so-called "job" may appear legitimate, but it's not the first time he's used an arranged business development spot as protective cover for less than honest pursuits — and he's done it at least two other times in just the last five years. In preparation for this report, I reviewed Nevada corporation filings, Clinical Testing Corp's sales and client start-up documents — capped with an off-the-record discussion with a pathologist. I’ll begin with the June 23, 2015 letter from Clinical Testing Corp, LLC CEO John Rittenour.
DR. BUCKHANNON IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE "IMPLANTATION OF LABORATORY SERVICES IN CLINICS AND MEDICAL FACILITIES NATIONALLY."
Rittenour makes a mighty effort to sound like the CEO of a clinical testing lab — but falls woefully short. The letter fails in its first paragraph, with Rittenour apparently confusing "implantation" with "implementation" and using "around the company" instead of "around the country": Dr. Buckhannon is my company’s Executive Vice President of New Business Development. As such, he is responsible for Education and Sales training of our national network of Account Executives. He is also responsible for the implantation of laboratory services in clinics and medical facilities nationally. Dr. Buckhannon also negotiates, facilitates and implements the utilization of multiple reference labs around the company so that we can provide the best patient care and customer service to our referring physicians and their patients.
The company was founded in Nevada on October 28, 2014, but when its website launched shortly after, Clinical Testing Corp, LLC was already boasting that it had "provided outsourced services to thousands of customers from most healthcare disciplines, including nearly all of the largest pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and chemical companies in the world."
After I ran the copy through a simple Google search, I discovered that Clinical Testing Corp LLC lifted the copy directly from BioReliance, a company founded in 1947.
All Clinical Testing Corp, LLC did was replace BioReliance with its name.
Not so fast.
Let's go back to Rittenour's letter, replete with spelling errors, gibberish and crazy claims. In the following paragraph excerpted from his letter, Rittenour purports that Buckhannon's job requires travel throughout the lower 48 states and Hawaii (the spelling errors and grammatical offenses appeared in the original):
We have marketing coverage in all of the continental US and Hawaii.
The management, training and ultimate sales volume falls under Robert’s prevue and his ability to travel to manage this process is essential for him to be able to adequately perform these tasks. I have attached a portion of the scheduled travel over the next three months. There will undoubtedly be additional travel to as the business continues to evolve.
- June 22nd-30th: Florida: Implementation of Pharmacogenetic testing and Medication therapy management protocols for several home health agencies.
- July 1-8th: Training for McLaren health systems. Sales presentation for 2 other hospital chains in Michigan.
- Week of July 12th: Las Vegas & Hartford Connecticut. Evaluate lab opportunity.
- July 15-17: Pharmacogenitc testing New Orleans, LA
- July 19th Colorado two days to implement training programs for sales force
- July 28-29 Sales training Orange County, CA
- July 30-31 Visit Lab Porterville CA Systems evaluation of Lab Procedures
- August 3-8: Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego – Finish negotiating lab contracts and in service large Primary Care groups
- August 10-11: Detroit Regional Sales Training
- August 13-14 Boise Idaho – Follow up on implementation with Several Home Health agencies and Assisted living facilities
- Aug 18-19 Redmond WA implementation of Pharmacy review protocols for Assisted living facilities
If you merely skim the appointments, they may appear legitimate. But I noticed one glaring mistake: the claim that Buckhannon would be spending time at "McLaren health systems" conducting "training".
Who exactly could Buckhannon be training?
McLaren has its own 40,000 square foot laboratory in Flint, Michigan, and conducts all its medical testing in-house.
On July 13, trying to confirm the story, I sent an email to [REDACTED] regarding Robert Buckahnnon's claim of a business relationship between company, Clinical Testing Corp and McLaren. [REDACTED] is the head of the McLaren Health System lab, and on July 14 I received an email indicating the matter had been punted to Corporate Compliance. I later sent an email to [REDACTED], McLaren's Director of Corporate Compliance.
As of today, I have heard nothing further from McLaren.
However, if Clinical Testing Corp, LLC truly had a business relationship with McLaren, the Nevada limited liability corporation would need a Michigan "certificate of authority" to conduct any business within the state. Foreign limited liability corporations that are "transacting business" in Michigan must first obtain a Certificate of Authority from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, and official records reveal no Certificate of Authority for Nevada-based Clinical Testing Corp, LLC.
CLINICAL TESTING CORP, LLC: A SIX-FIGURE MASS SPECTROMETER?
While "mass spec" machines are indeed used by clinical laboratories for urine testing, Rittenour/Clinical Testing Corp, LLC made another giant mistake, describing in a marketing piece a sophisticated machine whose cost can easily exceed $300,000 and requires six people to lift. Our urine drug testing is performed on a ABSciEX platform, 5500 triple quad LC/MS/MS instrumentation. We can readily accomplish a capacity of 400 positive confirmation and negative confirmation tests daily with ample room to grow.
If you parse the words above (and I did), you'll discover that it’s likely the machine described is the ABSciex API 5500 Benchtop Qtrap Mass Spectrometer System — a system used only for research, not for basic diagnostic procedures like a urine drug toxicology screen. Judging from the available evidence, Clinical Testing Corp, LLC is a medical distributorship, specifically a sales/marketing company representing laboratories like Texas-based Ally Clinical Diagnostics and Synergy Laboratories, a Las Vegas outfit (operating under the name Lab Express) that shares an office address with Clinical Testing Corp, LLC.
While both Ally and Synergy are reference labs that process work for multiple firms, it's difficult to determine proprietary information like the locations of each company's primary clinical labs and network partners for its urine toxicology and pharmacogenetics testing.
Back in January, 2015, Buckhannon began issuing a series of increasingly bizarre press releases promoting his new role with a company initially described as "Clinical Testing Corporation" and later as "Clinical Testing Corp, LLC".
In those releases, Buckhannon claimed he planned "on opening genetics laboratories in three new locations" and "creating better patient outcomes and groundbreaking healthcare discoveries."
One release even stated that Buckhannon would "be responsible for developing new laboratories in Las Vegas, Nevada, Phoenix Arizona, West Palm Beach, Florida, and Denver, Colorado." —all cities that Buckhannon tapped during his hedge fund "fundraising days".
It appears that my suspicions may have been warranted.
Buckhannon's not only managed to insist in a press release that he would travel to "Phoenix, Arizona to view construction of the latest CTC lab", he appears to have bamboozled the government into modifying the terms of his pretrial release.
But, like I said, he's used other fake jobs as cover, most notoriously with a former business associate/scammer named Zia Shlaimoun.
FLY ME TO SHLAIMOUN...TO INFINAFUND, AND BEYOND!
On April 1, 2009, Robert Buckhannon, then CEO of Vestium Management Group and managing member of Arcanum Equity Fund (AEF), wired $20,000 out of an AEF account to Infinifund Ltd.
However, less than six weeks before, (on February 24, 2009), Buckhannon had sent an email to the other managing members, Terry Rawstern, Dale St. Jean and Gregory Tindall, telling them that pending investor redemption requests “can be strung out for a bit” while they pursued other investment opportunities.
According to court documents, Buckhannon wired an additional $200,000 to Infinifund on June 30, 2009. On August 18, 2009, Buckhannon sent a letter to the Funds' investors explaining the Funds lacked the necessary capital to pay investor redemptions.
When questioned in November 2009 by the Funds’ controller regarding the existence of an agreement authorizing or explaining the purpose for the disbursements, Buckhannon explained that Infinifund’s sole principal, Zia P. Shlaimoun, was the “cousin of his fiancé Marlena Michaels.” Buckhannon initially told the controller to classify the $220,000 payments to Infinifund as “expenses related the AEF’s August 2009 investment in Shea Mining & Milling.”
However, in March 2010, the controller stated that Buckhannon told him to reclassify the expenses as “legal expenses for AEF”. When the controller questioned that classification, Buckhannon instructed him to reclassify the Infinifund payments as “investment management expenses”.
Between March 2008-June 2011, Buckhannon billed himself as the Director of New Business Development for Itanics, Inc., a Los Angeles-based company owned by Shlaimoun. Buckhannon claimed his duties included "expanding business lines".
Chris Paganes, a Michigan-based Arcanum/Vestium hedge fund associate of Buckhannon's, provided him with a cover story in 2011 as the Sales/Marketing Director of Joeshipping.com, the precursor of a discount shipping/charity fundraising scheme later known as "Ship4Charities.com". On its website, the company described itself as a "discount provider of shipping that gives to charity on every package shipped."
The investigation, published on my blog, revealed that only one of the charities featured as "partners" on the website ever received any of the money potentially donated in their names.
And finally, Buckhannon and Clinical Testing Corp’s Director of New Business Development, Justin Covillon, formed Regent Health Systems LLC in Nevada on March 3, 2015.
Covillon lists 4325 Dean Martin Drive, Suite 340 in Las Vegas as the mailing address, the same as Clinical Testing Corp LLC.
I understand this may sound crazy, but I'd rather forward my suspicions to you and be wrong than stay silent and be right.
Tomorrow, I'll bring you Newman's answer, and my September 22, 2016 email to the AUSA prosecuting Robert Buckhannon.
Here's a preview:
Zia Shlaimoun isn't the only Arcanum/Vestium hedge fund associate linked to
Paganes was briefly involved with Clinical Testing Corp during its start-up days in 2015 before launching his own company, Cambridge Health and Medical Sales, LLC, on August 27, 2015.
Miss Fortune has all the exclusive details, coming tomorrow!
Here's a screen grab of my September 22, 2016 Buckhannon follow-up email to Newman: