CHICAGO (CBS) — A former west suburban attorney charged with stealing roughly $1 million from the estates of dead former clients was sentenced Tuesday to more than four years in prison.
Robert B. Beck, 50, of Mount Prospect, pleaded guilty in September to a single felony count of theft between $500,000 and $1 million, according to the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office.
From July 201 to Jan. 2015, Beck bilked roughly $1 million from the estates of four dead former clients and at least three other clients, prosecutors said. An investigation revealed that he had stolen $696,000 from a client’s trust and used the money for personal and business expenses. Beck then stole money from another client’s trust to pay back the estate of the previous victims.
In total, Beck shuffled over $1 million between trusts in an attempt to cover up his crimes, prosecutors said. The scheme was uncovered when a bank investigator became suspicious and contacted authorities.
Beck was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, prosecutors said. He will have to serve 50 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
“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 in a statement. “Thankfully, Mr. Beck’s scheme was uncovered and he will now be held responsible for his reprehensible actions.”
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