Law Partner Sentenced for $1.2 Million Fraud Scheme
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Leawood, Kan., attorney pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a fraud conspiracy, while his former law partner was sentenced for stealing more than $1.2 million from St. Luke’s Health System, a client of their former law firm.
Mark J. Schultz, 57, of Leawood, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to a federal information that charges him with participating in a wire fraud and mail fraud conspiracy.
Alan B. Gallas, 65, of Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to one year and one day in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Gallas to pay $1,224,264 in restitution to St. Luke’s. Gallas must report to the Bureau of Prisons by April 10, 2017, to begin serving his sentence.
Schultz and Gallas were attorneys and partners in the law firm of Gallas & Shultz in Kansas City, Mo., which specialized in collection work for corporations. Gallas surrendered his license to practice law in Missouri and Kansas in November 2015.
On April 13, 2016, Gallas pleaded guilty to mail fraud. Gallas admitted that he engaged in a scheme from 2009 through July 2015 to defraud a client, St. Luke’s Health System, of monies collected by his law firm totaling $1,224,264.
By pleading guilty today, in a separate but related case, Schultz admitted that he participated in the conspiracy from January 2014 through July 2015. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Schultz must forfeit to the government any property he derived from the proceeds of the wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy.
Gallas was the attorney responsible for the St. Luke’s account at the law firm. After attempting to collect on patient accounts for a period of time, St. Luke’s would transfer its larger outstanding patient accounts to Gallas & Shultz for collection. As payments on patient accounts were received, the payments were logged into the case management system for the appropriate patient account. The monies were then deposited into the law firm’s trust account. On a periodic basis, often monthly, the firm would remit the patient payments collected to St. Luke’s.
Gallas admitted that he caused personnel at the law firm to withhold money from payments made to St. Luke’s by placing thousands of payments on “hold” status, then directing those funds be transferred from the trust account to the firm’s operating account. The pattern of not remitting some payments to St. Luke’s escalated significantly from 2012 to 2015. According to court documents, Gallas withheld 601 payments totaling $211,391 in 2012. Gallas withheld 699 payments totaling $266,696 in 2013. Gallas withheld 625 payments totaling $227,892 in 2014. Through the month of July 2015, Gallas withheld 625 payments totaling $216,845.
Schultz admitted today that he agreed with Gallas and others to transfer funds from the trust account into the law firm’s operating account. The amount of funds diverted by Schultz, and the amount of restitution Schultz must pay to St. Luke’s for the total amount of its loss, will be determined by the court at Schultz’s sentencing hearing.
Under federal statutes, Schultz is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. They were investigated by the FBI.