Lockport woman convicted of defrauding organ donation nonprofit

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A southwest suburban Lockport woman was convicted Wednesday of defrauding a nonprofit network that coordinated organ and tissue donations in Illinois and northwest Indiana.

A jury convicted Debra A. Schultz, 46, of three counts of wire fraud for the scheme, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Along with her codefendants, Schultz submitted false invoices to the nonprofit, claiming she worked to help physicians procure organs or tissues.

One of the purported physicians was her codefendant Eric V. Murff, prosecutors said. Many of the false invoices specified that Murff, as well as Schultz’s son, were doctors who performed organ and tissue procurement. In reality, neither was a doctor, and her son was a 17-year-old high school student when the fraud began.

Another defendant, Shari L. Hansen, approved the fake invoices and authorized and directed the nonprofit to issue checks to Murff and Schultz’s son.

Prosecutors said the scheme netted $652,298 in illegal profits between March 2008 and April 2010 for those involved in the fraud, including Schultz, who retained thousands of dollars for her own benefit.

The conviction carries a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison, prosecutors said. Schultz was expected to be sentenced May 19.

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