Michael Gral, a former partner in the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich has been sentenced in the Bielinski Brothers fraud and conspiracy case. Gral pleaded guilty to mail fraud for his role in the fraud perpetrated by Bob Brownell, the former CEO of Bielinski Brothers. He received two years of prison followed by probation, and will pay $4.2 million to Bielinski Brothers. The payment to the company includes $1.7 million in restitution and $2.5 million in damages, and will be paid over four years. He is the eighth person to plead guilty to participating in the fraud which cost the company at least $20 million.
Gral was outside counsel for Bielinski Brothers for four years, and reportedly charged the company $4.2 million for legal fees during that time period. Prosecutors say that while Gral was charging Bielinski Brothers for legal representation, he was also conspiring with Brownell to defraud the company via real estate deals and fake construction billings.
A defense attorney said that Gral did not intend to steal money from the Bielinskis, and never directly stole any money from them.
Read my article about the things we can learn from the Bielinski Brothers fraud here.