Businessman pleads guilty to wire fraud

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SAN DIEGO — A Rancho Santa Fe businessman admitted in federal court Wednesday to selling breast-examination imaging and diagnostic systems that he either completely failed to deliver or only partially provided to his customers.

Christopher John Cozzie, 57, pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego to wire fraud in connection with his running of two companies, Advance Functional Imaging and Green Screen Labs. The firms purported to sell infrared cameras, laptops, touch-screen computers and imaging software for less invasive breast examinations.

Cozzie conceded that between 2007 and 2009 he marketed the equipment to holistic healthcare providers via the Internet and at wellness conventions in Las Vegas and California, charging as much as $35,000 per system.

By 2008, according to the plea, Cozzie had no capital to run his businesses and was unable to provide entire packages of equipment to customers, particularly cameras. Instead, he was peddling used imaging devices, sometimes selling the same one to more than one customer.

In February 2009, a doctor in Texas contracted with him for an imaging system, computer and training, according to prosecutors. Two months later, the physician wired Cozzie $32,000 for the system, but never received the camera, despite repeated contacts with Cozzie.

According to the plea agreement, some customers received partial systems, while some received nothing. Still, Cozzie continued to market and sell the apparatuses. In one instance, he removed a camera from the office of one of his clients and delivered it to a second in another part of California, court documents state.

The victims suffered combined losses in excess of $200,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego.

Cozzie will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at his sentencing, which is scheduled for March 3.

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