Court disbars lawyer who gambled client's millions

Published on: 8/25/2010

Thomas H. Koch, who gambled away millions of dollars he had recovered for a Texas client, had his law license revoked Wednesday by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Koch, 46, of Greenfield, was charged with theft of $2.4 million in February, He consented to the law license revocation rather than defend against related professional misconduct claims being investigated by the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

According to the criminal complaint, Koch (Marquette, '90) worked for Affiliated Computer Services, a Dallas-based company, that checks to see whether medical insurers are recovering costs for injuries when possible. ACS hired Koch in 2001 to pursue such cases in the Milwaukee area for ACS’s insurance company clients.

In 2007, a new litigation manager at ACS noticed Koch had about 360 open claims. When he failed to reply to her request for status updates, she found that about 270 had been settled, but that no proceeds had been forwarded to ACS.

The Supreme Court noted in its ruling that Koch admitted his embezzlement once confronted by ACS, and has entered treatment for compulsive gambling.

Koch pleaded guilty to the criminal charge in May and is scheduled for sentencing in September. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison but will likely get a much lighter sentence that would allow him to try to make restitution.