White-Collar Crime

Disbarred lawyer gets 180 days for misappropriating $225K from client's estate

A longtime Illinois lawyer who admittedly misappropriated $225,000 from a client’s estate was sentenced Friday to 180 days in jail after turning over a $150,000 check to the court.

Earl Wilcek, 59, must also repay another $75,000 over a 30-month period of probation, once he serves his time in the DuPage County case, reports the Chicago Tribune. The money he gave to the court on Friday came from loans provided by family and friends, his lawyer told the judge.

Admitted in 1981, Wilcek used the money to pay personal and law firm bills as he struggled with his real estate-focused practice during an economic downtown, the article says. He pleaded guilty to theft in February and consented to disbarment last year,

Wilcek said, in a letter submitted to the court before sentencing, that he used some of the money to help one of his client’s heirs, who had a drug problem, with treatment. Withdrawing money on the son’s behalf led to “excesses that I know can only be interpreted as theft,” Wilcek told the court.

The client, with whom Wilcek had been acquainted for decades, died in 2007. Prosecutors said he misappropriated the $225,000 between 2008 and 2010, according to an earlier Chicago Tribune story.

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