Former KUMC employee sentenced to prison for embezzling $556,000

 

Date: June 23, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Kansas City, KS — Michael Tae Kim Ahlers of Lenexa, Kansas, was sentenced to two years in prison after stealing more than $556,000 from his former employer, the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), as well as from KUMC Research Institute and from KU Endowment. In February, Ahlers pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud and filing a false tax return. The prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised released, and Ahlers is ordered to pay more than $680,000 in restitution.

According to court documents, from 2009 to August 2015, Ahlers abused his position as the administrative officer of the KUMC Occupational Therapy Education Department. While embezzling $526,000 from KUMC, he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal expenditures. Some of those expenditures include:

  • approximately $87,000 on gambling;
  • approximately $81,000 on travel to locations such as Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York, Myrtle Beach and Caribbean cruises;
  • approximately $81,000 in cash withdrawals;
  • approximately $36,000 on golf memberships and fees; and
  • approximately $36,000 on sports tickets and on license or donor fees.

To conceal the fraud, Ahlers used a KUMC Credit Union bank account over which he had exclusive control. He created fraudulent invoices to prevent the discovery that he was using the account for his personal gain. Ahlers stole approximately $30,000 from KUMC Research Institute and KU Endowment by submitting falsified invoices for which he was paid. He then willfully failed to include the stolen funds on his federal tax returns which resulted in a tax loss of more than $104,000 from 2009 to 2015.

"It's disappointing anytime someone in a position of trust misuses that authority for personal financial gain. As federal prosecutors, we work tirelessly to see perpetrators of fraud brought to justice and convicted," said Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard. "It's also our responsibility to advocate before the courts on behalf of victims so that they might recover as much of their losses as possible as restitution."

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Secret Service investigated the case.

"After multiple years of embezzling from the University of Kansas Medical Center and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on himself, Mr. Ahlers is now going to federal prison," said Amanda Prestegard, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division in the St. Louis Field Office. "Mr. Ahlers' sentence further exhibits that IRS CI, along with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney's Office, will continue to identify, investigate and prosecute individuals that participate in abusive criminal activity, and are duty bound to protect the integrity of the U.S. tax administration."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan J. Huschka and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Leon Patton prosecuted the case.