Ex-Mayer Brown US information chief charged with $850,000 fraud

Mayer Brown’s former chief information officer (CIO) has been charged with defrauding the firm out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a fake invoices scam.

A statement issued by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) yesterday confirmed that former Mayer Brown CIO David Tresch had been arrested in Chicago on federal charges alleging he had operated an $850,000 fraudulent billing scheme over the past 12 months.

Mayer Brown was not named in the statement, but the firm later issued its own statement, which made no comment other than to confirm it was co-operating with the US attorney’s office’s criminal investigation.

Tresch’s contract was terminated on 28 June following an internal investigation.

The US DoJ statement claims Tresch was responsible for reviewing invoices paid from the firm to an unnamed vendor firm. Those invoices claimed to have provided Mayer Brown with IT services. Mayer Brown issued cheques totalling $980,000 to the vendor for its work.

But the allegation is that Tresch pocketed more than $850,000 at the same time from the vendor firm, placing the money into two personal accounts and using the funds to buy a mobile home, camper and a luxury car. Those assets, and $210,000 in bank accounts, were yesterday seized by the FBI, the DoJ confirmed in its statement.

The charges also say that between November 2004 and March 2011, Mayer Brown paid the unnamed vendor almost $8m, which represented 95 per cent of the latter’s income. According to the affidavit, Tresch received $1.3m during a similar time period.

Tresch has been charged with one count of mail fraud in a criminal complaint.

The government is being represented by assistant US attorney Terra Reynolds.

Tresch has been released on $100,000 bail. The next hearing is set for 5 September.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Mayer Brown said: “Mayer Brown has been notified by the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois that charges were brought against former Mayer Brown employee David Tresch, alleging that there is ‘probable cause to believe that Tresch knowingly devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud, and to obtain money from the victim firm’ – that is, Mayer Brown.

“The firm terminated Mr Tresch in late June following an internal investigation, and we referred the matter to the US Attorney’s Office at that time. The firm will continue to cooperate with the US Attorney’s office in this matter, but will have no further comment at this time in deference to the ongoing criminal investigation.”