Thursday, March 31, 2011

Karen Pletz indicted for allegedly embezzling more than $1.5 million from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge Karen Pletz is looking at $1.5 million worth of trouble.
  • Karen Pletz is looking at $1.5 million worth of trouble.

A federal grand jury has indicted Karen Pletz, the former president and CEO of Kansas City University of Medicine and

Biosciences, for allegedly embezzling more than $1.5 million from the university.

Pletz, 63, was charged in a 24-count indictment that was unsealed today. She served as president and CEO of KCUMB and as a member of the university's board of trustees from 1995 until December 2009. The feds allege that Pletz embezzled $1,525,791 from KCUMB in payments from the osteopathic medicine and life sciences school.



She's accused of concocting minutes for KCUMB Executive Committee

meetings that never occurred. The minutes from the nine meetings between

October 2002 and December 2009 showed that the only business at the

meetings was to authorize payments to Pletz, which were called

"leadership stipends" or "leadership compensation." She usually got a

lump sum of $65,000 and pulled a total of $1,409,500.

Pletz is also accused of paying herself to visit her parents at the

Harbor Beach Marriott Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2007; to

visit a friend at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming;

and to visit high school friends at the Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms

in Charleston, South Carolina. She also is accused of reimbursing

herself for $11,846 worth of stuff she bought at a Vera Wang boutique at

Halekulani Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii. Pletz is accused of failing to

declare the $50,291 in total income, which she received from KCUMB for these

reimbursements, on her federal income tax returns. The indictment alleges that Pletz received $1,074,917 in unreported

income from disallowed travel and entertainment claims, which led to a

tax loss to the United States of at least $280,000.



Pletz is also accused of filing tax returns for 2003 through 2006 in

which she falsely claimed itemized

deductions for charitable contributions that she did not make. The feds

say the truth is that KCUMB made the contributions. Pletz allegedly

claimed $565,628 worth of fraudulent charitable

deductions to the United Way, Lyric Opera, the Deron Cherry Foundation,

Boys and Girls Clubs, and Truman Medical Center.

Among the allegedly fraudulent charitable contributions was $65,000 to

Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. That donation was made by

KCUMB, the feds say. Pletz is accused of getting reimbursements from

KCUMB for those contributions over a three-year period and failing to

report the $65,000 as income.

Pletz is also facing charges of money laundering for four separate

occasions when she allegedly transferred money obtained by theft from

her bank account to American Express.



The government is trying to take away Pletz's 2002 Lexus convertible

and $39,337 from her bank account, which federal agents seized in

October. They're also after an $830,000 judgment and Pletz's Plaza

condo.

Pletz is facing 16 counts of stealing from the university, one count of attempting to interfere with

the administration of internal revenue, three counts of making false

statements on tax returns, and four counts of money laundering.


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