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Crystal Lake attorney charged with stealing $1.2M from clients

Published: Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 12:34 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 1:40 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – A Crystal Lake-based attorney has been charged with embezzling more than $1.2 million of his client’s money.

Curt P. Rehberg, 49, of 1708 Mink Trail, Cary, was charged with seven counts of theft.

He was arrested at his home Friday without incident and posted $10,000 cash to be released from Crystal Lake police custody, Cmdr. Dan Dziewior said.

In one case, he’s accused of pilfering $524,836.94 from one man and $468,475.99 from another. In total, there are eight alleged victims.

Rehberg, an attorney who specializes in estates, was the executor of several trust fund accounts that did not distribute cash to the beneficiaries.

“His clients asked for their money and he didn’t have it; the money’s no longer there,” Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs said. “Presumably, he spent it or transferred it to some other account.”

When clients demanded their money, Rehberg forwarded them to his criminal defense attorney, Kenneth Cunniff, Combs said.

Dave Hanson, an alleged victim in the case, said he was stunned when Rehberg failed to give him the more than $150,000 the criminal complaint said he was owed. The money was in an estate left to him by his mother.

“He had all my trust,” Hanson said. “I never envisioned something like this happening. The effects on all the people involved, all the victims, and his family, too. What was the motivation for this? Why do this?”

Cunniff declined to comment Monday, and a phone number for Rehberg’s Crystal Lake law office has been disconnected.

Rehberg also has a related pending case before the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. The ARDC can disbar, suspend, censure or reprimand Rehberg based on the outcome of its investigation.

According to a complaint filed with the commission, Rehberg took money and assets from at least two estates that he managed for his own business or personal expenses, instead of distributing money to the estate beneficiaries.

He is accused of depositing money from the estates into his own bank account and overdrawing the account by more than $3,500.

Rehberg was censured in 2003 by the Illinois Supreme Court for neglecting a civil matter and misrepresenting the status of the matter to his client. A censure means that the court found that he engaged in misconduct, but he was allowed to continue to practice law.

The most serious criminal charge against Rehberg, theft of more than $100,000, is a nonprobational Class 1 felony, punishable by four to 15 years in prison.

“It’s a lot of money, especially since a majority of it came from departed loved ones,” Dziewior said.

His next court date is Oct. 11.

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