White-Collar Crime

Former Greenberg Traurig Partner Gets 6 Years for Overbilling Client Suburb

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Updated: A former Chicago partner of Greenberg Traurig pleaded guilty to theft today in Cook County Circuit Court and was sentenced to six years for overbilling a client municipality in the city’s suburbs.

Mark McCombs pleaded guilty to a theft of over $100,000 and was taken into custody to begin serving his time, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Prosecutors said he had cost Calumet Park more than $1 million by billing the municipality at $600 per hour for work he never performed.

The article doesn’t include any comment from McCombs, his counsel or the law firm. However, as previous ABAJournal.com posts detail, the firm cooperated with the investigation and promised full reimbursement to the client. Meanwhile, McCombs apparently did not profit personally from the overbilling theft, but, in the short run, enhanced his prestige within the firm by seeming to be more productive than he was.

A subsequent Am Law Daily post includes a written statement from the firm: “The day we learned of the allegations against McCombs, we pledged full cooperation with the investigation and we pledged full restitution for any fees that were not properly billed,” it says. “Within two weeks thereafter we reimbursed the city pursuant to a confidential agreement.”

Although fired by Greenberg shortly after the apparent client theft came to light, it appears that McCombs may have been in practice in his own small firm prior to his sentencing today and is still a licensed Illinois lawyer.

Attorney Michael Gillespie represented McCombs and tells the Am Law Daily his client is extremely sorry and regrets letting down the legal profession and his family.

A press release from Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez provides additional details.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Greenberg Traurig Partner Charged With Overbilling Client By $1M to Gain Prestige in Firm”

ABAJournal.com: “Greenberg Firm to Repay All $3.2M Related to Ex-Partner’s Work for Chicago Suburb”

Updated on Sept. 13 to include information from subsequent Am Law Daily post.

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