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Prosecutors: CEO defrauds investors of $1.5 million, buys lake house

Sun-Times file photo

The CEO of a northwest suburban pharmaceutical company defrauded investors of at least $1.5 million, spending the money on a luxury lake house in Michigan and paying dues at golf and yacht clubs.

Federal agents on Tuesday arrested 68-year-old Robert Tomlinson, the CEO of Neurendo Pharma LLC, searched his Hoffman Estates home and seized funds in one of his bank accounts, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office. He was charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and was scheduled to make an initial court appearance Tuesday in front of Judge Susan E. Cox.

Tomlinson is accused of misappropriating at least $1.5 million from individual and corporate investors from March 2016 to early November, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said he told investors their money would be used to operate Neurendo and to market GNTI, an experimental drug to treat Type 2  diabetes. He claimed the investors would receive a substantial payment once Neurendo’s drug rights were bought by a major pharmaceutical company.

“In reality, Tomlinson used the majority of investor funds to support his family’s lavish lifestyle, which included a lake house in Bay Harbor, Michigan, and annual dues at the Bay Harbor Golf Club and Bay Harbor Yacht Club,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in the statement. He is also accused of using investor money to fund his own futures trading account and make payments to the Washington National Cathedral, as well as properties in Petoskey, Michigan, and Washington D.C.

In early November, Tomlinson made about 47 cash withdrawals of $9,500 each from Neurendo’s bank account, in an apparent effort to avoid federal reporting rules, which require financial institutions to notify the U.S. Department of Treasury about transactions of more than $10,000, prosecutors said.