Former Director of Two North Suburban Medical Practices Sentenced to 18 Months for Defrauding the Companies out of Nearly Half a Million Dollars
CHICAGO — The former executive director of two Deerfield-based physician offices was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison for fraudulently diverting nearly $500,000 of the companies’ funds to her own use.
JAYNE KULHANEK, 57, used corporate credit cards of The Laser Network LLC and United Eye Care Providers to fund vacations in France and Spain, purchase antique furniture, and pay her own state and federal income taxes. Kulhanek concealed the six-year scheme by making false accounting entries in the companies’ ledgers.
Kulhanek, of Benton Harbor, Mich., pleaded guilty in February to one count of wire fraud. In addition to the 18-month prison term, U.S. District Judge John W. Darrah ordered Kulhanek to pay $364,598.05 in restitution.
“The crime is not one of a mistake made one time, but a six-year scheme to steal money and cover it up,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil R. Harjani argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Only when the defendant’s scheme was fully exposed by company management did she stop her fraudulent conduct.”
The Laser Network and United Eye Care Providers are affiliated physician offices that provide treatment for the eye. As executive director of the two companies, Kulhanek had access to the companies’ corporate credit cards and bank accounts in order to pay business expenses. She also maintained the companies’ accounting ledgers.
From January 2006 to December 2012, Kulhanek used the companies’ funds to pay balances on her personal credit cards that she had spent on her own living expenses. She attempted to conceal the scheme by fraudulently classifying the payments as having been made to a medical-equipment vendor or other supplier. The scheme netted Kulhanek $491,328.57.
When company officials initially confronted her about the antique furniture in November 2011, Kulhanek said she had used the wrong credit card to make the purchase. The scam continued for another year before it was fully exposed.
The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is represented by Mr. Harjani.