A former Kansas University Medical Center administrative officer was sentenced Wednesday to two years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to embezzling roughly $526,000 over a period of six years.
Michael Tae Kim Ahlers, 50, of Lenexa, was charged with and in February pleaded guilty to bank fraud and filing a false tax return. In addition to his prison sentence, Ahlers is ordered to pay $680,000 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas.
Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard called Ahlers’ actions disappointing, saying Ahlers abused his position of trust for personal gain.
“As federal prosecutors, we work tirelessly to see perpetrators of fraud brought to justice and convicted,” Slinkard said in a statement. “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 fraud began in 2009 and lasted until August 2015, according to court records, as Ahlers was accused of using his position as the KUMC Occupational Therapy Education Department’s administrator to spend university funds on personal expenses.
As he stole the money, authorities alleged he concealed his actions by fabricating invoices with a KUMC Credit Union bank account over which he had sole control. Along with Kansas University Medical Center, he also embezzled about $30,000 from the KUMC Research Institute and KU Endowment.
Ahlers also faced a criminal charge for not including the stolen monies on his federal tax returns. Authorities say that resulted in $104,000 in tax losses to the federal government over the six-year period the fraud took place.
Authorities alleged Ahlers used the money he stole on lavish vacations to Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York, and Myrtle Beach along with cruises in the Caribbean. He took $81,000 in cash, spent $36,000 on golf, $36,000 on sports tickets and license or donor fees, and $87,000 on gambling, authorities said.
The case against Ahlers was built by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division, and the U.S. Secret Service.
Amanda Prestegard, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division in St. Louis, said the federal sentence shows the agency and its partners 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.”