More Charges for Former Prison Doctor
A superseding indictment was filed today charging the former medical director of Lehigh County Prison with financial aid fraud to get Pell Grants for his four eldest children. Dennis Erik Fluck Von Kiel, 58, of New Tripoli, PA, also allegedly tried to file fraudulent claims for social security disability insurance. Von Kiel was awaiting trial on conspiracy and tax evasion charges.
The superseding indictment contains 11 new counts. Von Kiel was originally charged with six counts including conspiracy to defraud the United States and five counts of attempting to evade or defeat federal taxes. The new counts include corruptly endeavoring to interfere with the due administration of the Internal Revenue Code, knowingly failing to file tax returns, wire fraud, perjury at a bankruptcy proceeding, and mail fraud.
According to the indictment, Von Kiel engaged in a series of illegal schemes since 2001, which were designed to help him evade creditors, including the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services to whom Von Kiel owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding medical school loans. Von Kiel then allegedly lied on applications to the Department of Education for financial student aid for four of his children, which enabled them to receive more than $36,000 in federal Pell Grants for their college educations. Most recently, the indictment alleges, Von Kiel tried to file a fraudulent claim for social security disability benefits by falsely claiming that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Von Kiel is a doctor of osteopathy whose medical practice included treating inmates at LCP from approximately March 1989 until approximately August 2013. Most of Von Kiel’s alleged schemes involved him pretending to become a minister of a “church” called the International Academy of Lymphology (which later changed its name to the International Academy of Life and then the Christian Forum Assembly), purporting to take a “vow of poverty,” and then claiming that he had no taxable income because his earnings belonged to “church.” The indictment alleges that Von Kiel convinced his employer that he was exempt from federal tax withholdings and directed his employer to deposit his bi-weekly paychecks into bank accounts for his “church.” Once the money arrived in those accounts, co-conspirators would transfer nearly the same amount of money into Pennsylvania bank accounts controlled by Von Kiel. Von Kiel then allegedly used the money to pay for all of his family’s day-to-day living expenses and to buy some luxury items.
Von Kiel has been held without bail at the Federal Detention Center since his arrest on February 28, 2014. His trial is scheduled to begin on September 10, 2014, before the United States District Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 108 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $2,895,000, and a $1,700 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, the FBI, and the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General, It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark B. Dubnoff.