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Feds: Lehigh County doctor pretended to be minister to avoid taxes

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 28 2014 10:21:50 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 02 2014 06:44:50 AM CST

Doctor faces federal charges

A Lehigh County doctor is accused of pretending to be a minister to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in income taxes for more than a decade.

Doctor Erik Von Kiel is facing federal charges for allegedly claiming to be a minister who took the vow of poverty, even as he was receiving annual salaries that sometimes exceeded $200,000.

Officials say Von Kiel falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income tax withholdings.

The IRS estimates he owes at least $256,000 in unpaid federal taxes.

Von Kiel, a doctor of osteopathy, provided medical services at Lehigh County Prison for more than 20 years.

His most recent practice was listed as Regal Health in Riegelsville, Bucks County.

Residents in that area say they are troubled by the allegations.

"I think it's probably one of the lowest forms of tax evasion that there could possibly be, because you're using a church that has a tax-exempt status," said resident Ed Marchand.

Von Kiel was arrested Friday. A bail hearing is set for Wednesday.