A former Wheaton attorney who pleaded guilty to theft has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for bilking the estates of four former and three other clients from July 2011 through January 2015.
Robert Beck, 50, of Mount Prospect, was sentenced Tuesday by Judge Liam Brennen, according to a news release from the DuPage County state's attorney's office. Beck's law offices were based in Wheaton.
In September 2017, Beck pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges that could have resulted in a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
According to the news release, Beck would take money from a client's trust for the estate and use it for personal and business expenses. He then would steal money from another client's trust and use that money to pay back the estate of his previous victims.
In all, Beck shuffled $1,206,210 between trusts to try to cover up his illegal activities.
"The very idea that the attorney for an estate would steal an inheritance from those who had just lost a loved one is simply disgraceful," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert B. Berlin said. "Thankfully, Mr. Beck's scheme was uncovered and he will now be held responsible for his reprehensible actions."
The scheme came to light when a bank investigator became suspicious in April 2014 and contacted Will County authorities who in turn contacted the DuPage County state's attorney's office.
The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission disbarred Beck in September 2016 because he "intentionally misappropriated funds in excess of $700,000 from two elderly clients, one of whom suffered from dementia, and an additional $189,500 from the estate of a third client following that client's death."
After he was caught, Beck told investigators "he and his wife had a spending problem."
Beck will be required to serve 50 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole.