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Lawyer gets 6 years for $2M worth of questionable billing to Calumet Park

A Chicago attorney accused of billing Calumet Park $600 per hour for work he never did pleaded guilty to theft on Monday.

Mark McCombs, 50, was sentenced by Cook County Judge Jorge Alonso to six years in prison for an overbilling scheme that spanned several years and cost the small south suburban community more than $1 million, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

McCombs served as special counsel for village and worked primarily on issues related to a tax increment financing(TIF) district.

A state’s attorney’s investigation of McCombs was triggered in 2010 after Community High School District 218 Superintendent John Byrne started questioning McCombs about the tax increment financing district.

The lawyer allegedly responded by offering to pay the school district for Byrne’s silence. But he reported McCombs to village officials.

A subsequent review of records showed that he had billed the TIF fund for about $2 million since 2007 even though no economic development projects had been completed.

McCombs was arrested in March 2010 and charged with overbilling the tax increment financing district he represented.

McCombs pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds in excess of $100,000, according to the State’s Attorney’s office. 

“We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute this type of public corruption at the local level, which has a devastating impact on local governments and the taxpayers,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said in a statement issued today.

McCombs was taken in to custody immediately following the judge’s ruling to begin his sentence.

efmeyer@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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