A prominent Wichita woman embezzled millions of dollars from two physician-owned businesses that provide services at Wesley Medical Center, a lawsuit says.
The lawsuit, filed last week in Sedgwick County District Court, identifies the woman accused of embezzling as Nancy J. Martin, longtime business administrator for Emergency Services P.A. and Mid-Kansas Wound Specialists P.A. Both are identified as physician-owned professional associations that provide emergency medicine or wound care services at Wesley Medical Center.
The lawsuit – brought by Mid-Kansas Wound Specialists and Emergency Services – names as defendants Nancy Martin, her husband, Thomas A. Martin, and 11 limited liability corporations owned and operated by the couple. The litigation seeks a jury trial and damages exceeding $75,000. The lawsuit says more than $4 million was embezzled between 2006 and 2017.
Neither Nancy Martin nor any attorney who might represent her could immediately be reached for comment. Kurt Harper, attorney for Tom Martin, said he couldn’t comment.
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No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the lawsuit.
The couple are well known in Wichita.
Until recently, Nancy Martin served on the Wichita State University’s Foundation board, where she was the giving chair and also served on the university’s National Advisory Council. In 2016, she was appointed to the University of Kansas Endowment 4-Wichita board, which raises money for KU School of Medicine-Wichita.
Tom Martin has served on the Wichita Community Foundation board.
An accounting firm’s investigation found that from 2012 through 2017, “Nancy Martin had embezzled millions of dollars from ESPA and MKWS on a regular and systematic basis,” says the lawsuit.
“MKWS conducted its own investigation for the time period of 2006 through 2012 and discovered that Nancy Martin had embezzled millions more,” the lawsuit says.
Martin was business administrator for ESPA for more than 30 years and business administrator of MKWS since it began in 1997. She oversaw operations for the physician owners by handling the books, records and payroll; paying bills; writing checks and reconciling bank accounts, the lawsuit says.
“Nancy Martin’s embezzlement consisted of not only issuing ESPA and MKWS checks to herself, but to others that directly benefited her, Tom Martin and their corporate Entities,” it says.
Around May of 2017, an MKWS owner found out that MKWS had been under an Internal Revenue Service audit since 2015.
“When confronted with news of the IRS audit, Nancy Martin revealed that she had ‘borrowed’ some money from MKWS and had paid some of it back,” the lawsuit says.
The Martins “used the embezzled money to maintain an extravagant lifestyle that they could not otherwise afford,” it says.
Some of the money went to fund their businesses and buy real estate and other assets, the lawsuit says. Checks were written to numerous banks as well as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
The lawsuit also accuses them of using embezzled money “for philanthropic causes such as charitable donations.”
“Nancy Martin concealed her embezzlement by manipulating check information (date, check number and payee) on MKWS and ESPA’s accounting software after-the-fact,” according to the lawsuit.
It involved Nancy Martin “maintaining a ghost bank account for ESPA that was not maintained on ESPA’s accounting software,” it says.
Nancy Martin paid herself a salary exceeding what ESPA and MKWS had approved, it says.
“The embezzlement from ESPA so severely affected ESPA’s cash flow that it caused ESPA to go from being a direct contractor with Wesley Medical Center to a subcontractor. The subcontractor status significantly reduced ESPA’s profits,” the lawsuit says. The lawsuit puts the lost profits at $1.6 million. It lists the total loss, including amount of money taken, interest and lost profits at almost $6.3 million.
One of the separate counts listed in the lawsuit alleges that the couple conspired with each other to embezzle money and conceal it.
“Tom Martin and the corporate defendants received large sums of the money Nancy Martin embezzled from ESPA and MKWS. These sums were in the form of ESPA and
MKWS checks. In addition, embezzled funds were used to pay for Tom Martin’s living expenses, debts and asset acquisitions.”
Tom Martin and the couple’s businesses were “generally aware of Nancy Martin’s embezzlement from ESPA and MKWS, and by receiving and using embezzled funds, they knowingly assisted Nancy Martin,” the lawsuit says.
Contributing: Carrie Rengers of The Eagle