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Crime & Courts

Former Wheaton attorney pleads guilty to stealing $1M from clients

Robert Beck, 50, of the 26W100 block of Embden Lane near Wheaton, pleaded guilty Sept. 7 to theft between $500,000 and $1 million as part of a blind plea.
Robert Beck, 50, of the 26W100 block of Embden Lane near Wheaton, pleaded guilty Sept. 7 to theft between $500,000 and $1 million as part of a blind plea.

WHEATON – A former Wheaton attorney faces between four and 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing $1 million from his clients.

Robert Beck, 50, of the 26W100 block of Embden Lane near Wheaton, pleaded guilty Sept. 7 to theft between $500,000 and $1 million as part of a blind plea, said Paul Darrah, communications manager for the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office. His next court date is set for Oct. 26, when a sentencing date will be set, Darrah said.

Between July 2011 and January 2015, Beck swindled the trusts for the estates of four dead clients and at least three current clients out of about $1 million, according to the State's Attorney's Office.

Beck would steal money from a client's trust and use it for personal and business expenses, and then siphon money from another client's trust and use that money to pay back the estate of the previous client from which he stole, officials said.

Beck shifted $1.26 million among the trusts, using funds from one to pay the heirs of another, that way covering up the thefts, officials said. A bank investigator became suspicious and contacted authorities.

Beck was disbarred in 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," according to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois.

The disbarment was effective Sept. 22, 2016. Beck was first licensed in 1995, and his practice was in Wheaton.

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