Former Law Firm IT Chief And Contract Employee Vendor Indicted In $4.8 Million Billing Fraud And Kick-back Scheme
CHICAGO — The former chief information officer of a Chicago-based international law firm who was charged previously, and the president of a company that provided contract technology workers who was charged for the first time and arrested today, were indicted for allegedly engaging in a fraudulent billing and kickback scheme that netted each of them more than $2 million. NICHOLAS DEMARS, the president of NS Mater, a defunct firm that provided contract employees and technology to assist in office automation, web and database development, and general information technology, was arrested today and indicted with DAVID TRESCH, the former law firm officer who supervised the work and billing related to the contract employees.
For the first six years of the scheme that began in 2004, Demars allegedly paid Tresch a portion of the profits that NS Mater made from work its contract employees performed at the victim law firm. During the last two years ending in June 2012, Tresch allegedly received kickbacks totaling nearly all of the false billings that the law firm paid NS Mater for work that was not performed.
Tresch, 51, and Demars, 57, both of Itasca, were each charged with 10 counts of mail fraud in an indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury yesterday and unsealed today after Demars was arrested. Demars was released on bond after appearing this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier in U.S. District Court. Tresch, who was released on bond after he was arrested in August, will be arraigned at a later date in Federal Court.
The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $4,819,253 representing the combined net proceeds that both men allegedly obtained from the scheme, as well as their respective homes, Demars’ condominium in Chicago, and a residence in Lake Geneva, Wis., and more than $225,000 that was seized from Tresch along with his camping trailer, a van, and a luxury automobile.
The charges were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Thomas R. Trautmann, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the initial complaint, the victim law firm, which was not identified by name, reported Tresch’s alleged criminal activity and cooperated in the investigation. The firm, which has offices worldwide, hired Tresch in May 2004 and he held several positions in the information technology department before he was promoted in July 2011 to chief information officer.
The indictment alleges that between November 2004 and March 2011, the law firm issued checks totaling approximately $7.68 million to NS Mater, and Demars, in turn, kicked back $1.14 million to Tresch. In 2004 and 2005, Demars allegedly paid kickbacks directly to Tresch after paying legitimate NS Mater contract employees and payroll administrators for work they had performed for the law firm. Beginning in April 2006, allegedly to conceal the kickbacks, Demars began paying Tresch by issuing checks to Tresch’s wife and treating her as an employee of NS Mater, even though both defendants knew that she was not an employee and had not performed any work, according to the indictment. Tresch’s wife is not a defendant.
Subsequently, in late 2010, Tresch learned that that the law firm would soon stop using NS Mater contract employees, and, in February 2011, the firm directed Tresch to no longer permit NS Mater to provide personnel for the information technology department. Between November 2011 and June 2012, Demars allegedly continued submitting invoices to Tresch totaling more than $1.1 million, falsely representing that NS Mater performed work that both defendants knew was not performed. Tresch submitted the false invoices, which the firm paid, and of the $1.1 million paid during this period, Demars kicked back approximately $970,000 to Tresch, while retaining the remainder for himself, the indictment alleges.
Each count of mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and restitution is mandatory. The Court may impose an alternative fine totaling twice the loss to the victim or twice the gain to the defendant, whichever is greater. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Reynolds.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.