AbovetheLaw report of a disciplinary complaint by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission against former Vedder Price partner Robert Hankes who was fired with allegations of fake invoices, misued client accounts and golf fees that needed paying.
According to the complaint, Hankes, a one-time member of Vedder Price’s transportation finance team, faked invoices for more than $130,000 in fraudulent payments.
Hankes was allegedly terminated by Vedder Price on Oct. 2, 2019 over the scheme, which had begun in January of 2018. Hankes was home grown at Vedder Price, he began working there in 2005 as a summer associate, and was made partner in 2014. Before joining the firm, Hankes, also a CPA, was auditor at Arthur Andersen and a financial analyst with Winston & Strawn.
The complaint alleges that while Hankes was employed by Vedder Price, the firm did work for a financial institution and sometimes billed fees for services to the financial institution’s customers, as the client directed.
Prior to January 2018, the firm billed about $23,783 in work for a customer of the financial institution. Hankes allegedly reactivated an unrelated client account, fabricated an invoice for the billed amount, and deposited the payment as a credit into the reopened account, which he controlled. Hankes also billed the financial institution with the correct billing number and applied the payment to its account.
There were another eight allegedly fabricated invoices according to the complaint the resulted in double-billing the financial institution and its clients. The complaint also alleges that during this period Hankes would charge the dormant account for expenses including golfing, dining and travel and got reimbursed to the tune of at least $79,790.
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