Some of us have a thing for instant gratification. We love purchases, acquiring belongings, and buying things that make us and others happy. An attorney in Chicago was caught stealing recently and had to plead guilty to theft and fraud after it was found that he was spending up to $30,000 a month of money that wasn’t his, according to a recent news story.
According to The Chicago Tribune, a guilty plea was offered by the Chicago attorney for taking over $800,000 from clients in order to fund his lavish lifestyle. The Wheaton estate lawyer admitted he had a spending problem and took more than $800,000 from his clients to fund his lifestyle which included spending about $30,000 in home and renovation expenses. This is according to what prosecutors said in a hearing in which the defendant, Robert Beck pled guilty to theft.
If he did not enter the guilty plea, the defendant could have served up to 15 years, but other charges were dropped in exchange for his plea, and sentencing will begin on October 26th. Beck lost his ability to practice estate law, of course, and he found himself in need of a good criminal defense lawyer.
The State Attorney’s assistant Diane Michalak provided a narrative of his crime at the hearing. Beck had a case filed in 2015 after another attorney commented on how Beck might have been using his client’s funds. The investigators discovered that Beck was scheming with his clients’ money to hide what he was stealing. When interviewed, Beck admitted to using the funds in an incorrect manner without approval and committed the crime because his wife and him having a spending problem. Beck spent $30,000 before they discovered that he was paying off monthly car loans, purchase new furniture, remodeling his home, and pay off his boat. The majority of the money was given to him to build trusts and he assumed he could take advantage of the elderly. The theft began in 2011 when Beck processed a trust account for a woman who happened to die within the same year. He started making personal checks out of her account and putting them into his account. Over 18 months, he took over $189,000. They began spending $18,000 in 2011 and that figure increased to $29,000 by early 2014.
Theft and fraud are often crimes of convenience, in which an individual who has access (in this case, to people’s estate funds) chooses to steal for themselves. Beck stole from others to fund a lavish lifestyle, and he admitted to his crime. Whenever a person is accused of a crime like theft, it is important for them to consult with a criminal defense lawyer to discuss their legal options. In this case, a plea deal may have helped reduce certain charges against the defendant. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review the facts of the case and determine what the right course of action may be. You may wish to strike a deal with the prosecutor, or you may wish to take the case to trial and try to have the charges against you dropped altogether. It is also wise to know the penal code for your particular state, so you know what charges may be filed against you. I live in Texas, so a quick search revealed theft and fraud lawyers near me (I really liked the website of this theft and fraud lawyer in my town), who I would definitely turn to if I were accused of a crime like Beck was.