Prison doc, a minister of 'Lymphology,' charged with tax evasion

The former medical director of Lehigh County Prison was indicted today on multiple counts in evading federal taxes.

Erik Von Kiel, 57, earned more than $200,000 a year from 2008 to 2012 and paid no taxes during any of those years. Von Kiel said he was exempt from paying taxes because he was the minister of a religious institution called the “International Academy of Lymphology” and had taken a "vow of poverty," according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Von Kiel, whose birth name Dennis Fluck, had his paychecks deposited into bank accounts for his “church,” but that money would be transferred to accounts controlled by Van Kiel. Some of the “church” money went to pay for his family’s day-to-day living and expenses and “some unusual items such as a batting cage for his sons,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger in a statement.

According to the Lehigh Valley Express-Times, he declared bankruptcy to avoid paying off his defaulted medical student college loans and lived in a seven bedroom house in Macungie. 

Von Kiel, who has been held without bail since his arrest on Feb. 28, faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine if found guilty on a count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S.  and five counts of attempted to evade or defeat federal taxes. The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark B. Dubnoff.

Contact Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or Follow @samwoodiii on Twitter.

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