Karen Pletz found dead in Florida - KCTV5 News

Karen Pletz found dead in Florida

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Former president and CEO of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences Karen Pletz has been found dead Tuesday morning at a residence in Florida.

Fort Lauderdale police were called to Pletz's condo at 12:15 a.m. Tuesday.

According to Fort Lauderdale police, Karen Pletz's death is being investigated as an "unknown death call."

"At this time of the investigation, there are no signs of foul play," said Fort Lauderdale police Det. Travis Mandell.

A medical examiner is now conducting an investigation.

Autopsy results are expected next week.

"Our university community is saddened to learn of the death of the University's former president, Karen Pletz. Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this time of profound loss," said the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences President Danny Weaver.

Karen Pletz, 64, was indicted on 24 counts in March 2011 in connection with an alleged fraud scheme that includes unauthorized compensation payments, reimbursements from the university for personal expenses, fraudulent charitable contributions, tax violations and money laundering at the medical school.

The money embezzled allegedly includes $1,409,500 worth of unauthorized additional pay for herself between October 2002 and December 2009, $65,000 worth of falsely claimed itemized deductions on charitable contributions she did not make, and $50,291 for travel reimbursements used for personal travel and entertainment. This included accusations she used university money to pay for cosmetic surgery.

She was president and chief executive officer from 1995 until 2009 when she was fired amid questions about her spending practices. She also served as chairwoman of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Her trial in U.S. District Court was set for next March.

Rouse Hendricks German May, the law firm representing Pletz, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon.

"We are deeply saddened by the news of Karen's passing. Karen was a dynamic and generous person who accomplished great things for this community," the statement said. "She will be missed."

Some students said the university is working to move beyond the Pletz years.

"I've met the new president and hopefully we're taking steps in the right direction now," first-year medical student Stefan Johnson told KCTV5's Eric Chaloux. 

In addition to the criminal charges, Pletz was facing a civil lawsuit.

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