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Attorney gets six years in prison for bilking Calumet Park of $2 million

Mark McCombs

Mark McCombs

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Updated: September 12, 2011 9:00PM

A Chicago attorney has been sentenced to six years in prison for overbilling south suburban Calumet Park millions of dollars for legal work he never performed.

Mark McCombs, 50, an attorney for more than 25 years and former shareholder at an international law firm, pleaded guilty Monday to theft of government funds in excess of $100,000, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

McCombs was investigated in connection with his work as a special counsel for the village of Calumet Park, where he was responsible for drafting and filing reports required by state law for the village’s Tax Increment Financing district.

According to prosecutors, McCombs was required to present an itemized bill to the village for approval before being paid, and would receive a voucher to present to the bank holding the TIF accounts. But he circumvented the process to receive payment for services he never performed, and also increased his fees up to $600 an hour without properly notifying the village or filing reports with the state.

The scheme was discovered in 2010 when another governmental agency that shared TIF money with Calumet Park found discrepancies in a presentation McCombs put together on the fiscal health of the fund, the release said. When contacted, McCombs allegedly offered to transfer TIF money to that agency in exchange for them dropping their inquiry.

Alarmed by the response, administrators contacted Calumet Park officials, who obtained several years worth of records and found that McCombs has billed the fund for about $2 million dollars worth of work since 2007, though no economic development projects were completed.

McCombs, who was fired by the Greenberg Traurig law firm shortly after his arrest in March 2010, pleaded guilty before Judge Jorge Alonso on Monday and was immediately taken into custody.

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