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Crime & Courts

Former Wheaton attorney sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for stealing from clients

Former Wheaton attorney Robert Beck, charged with stealing more than $500,000 from clients, has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison.
Former Wheaton attorney Robert Beck, charged with stealing more than $500,000 from clients, has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison.

A former Wheaton attorney charged with stealing more than $500,00 from clients has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison.

Robert Beck, 50, of the 200 block of Hi Lusi Avenue, Mount Prospect, appeared at his sentencing hearing Jan. 23, where DuPage County Judge Liam Brennan handed down the sentence. On Sept. 7, 2017, Beck entered a blind plea of guilty to one count of theft between $500,000 and $1 million, a Class 1 felony.

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 DuPage County State's Attorney's Office.

An investigation into the thefts revealed Beck stole $696,000 from a client’s trust and used that money for personal and business expenses, according to a news release from the State's Attorney's Office. Beck would then steal money from another client’s trust and use that money to pay back the estate of his previous victims, the release stated. In all, Beck shuffled $1,206,210 between trusts to try and cover up his illegal activities.

His scheme came to light when a bank investigator became suspicious and contacted Will County authorities, who in turn contacted the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“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 Berlin said in the release. “Thankfully, Mr. Beck’s scheme was uncovered and he will now be held responsible for his reprehensible actions."

Beck will be required to serve 50 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole. He faced between four and 15 years in prison.

Beck was disbarred from practicing law 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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