David Saks: FBI Arrests Attorney for Allegedly Stealing $2.34 Million from Clients

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FBI Arrests Attorney for Allegedly Stealing $2.34 Million from Clients

FBI Arrests Suburban Attorney for Allegedly Stealing $2.34 Million in Clients’ Funds from Her Escrow Account

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Northern District of Illinois (312) 353-5300

CHICAGO—A suburban attorney whose law license was suspended in May was arrested today on federal fraud charges for allegedly misappropriating approximately $2.34 million from a husband and wife who were her clients. The defendant, Kathleen Niew, was charged with 10 counts of wire fraud in a federal grand jury indictment that was returned on Tuesday and unsealed today following her arrest. FBI agents took Niew into custody without incident at her office in Oak Brook.

Niew, 57, of Burr Ridge, operated Niew Legal Partners LLC in Oak Brook. She was scheduled to be arraigned at 3 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim in U.S. District Court.

According to the indictment, Victims A and B, a husband and wife who were Niew’s clients, transferred approximately $2.34 million into Niew’s attorney escrow account to be used for closings on commercial real estate transactions.

Between January 2010 and December 2012, Niew allegedly used the funds for her own benefit, contrary to the false representations she made to the couple and others.

Without the couple’s knowledge, Niew used their funds to finance the purchases of various mining operations and not to purchase any commercial property for the victims, the charges allege.

As part of the fraud scheme, Niew arranged to receive a 20 percent finder’s fee for herself from a mining operation in exchange for providing it approximately $1.5 million in funds that belonged to her clients.

She falsely told the couple that their funds were available in her escrow account and were to be used for closings when they were not.

She further concealed her fraudulent conversion of funds by telling her clients that the bank had erroneously sent the funds intended for closings to the wrong bank accounts, even though she had not directed any such wire transfer of the clients’ funds to the title companies to purchase real estate, the indictment alleges.

The arrest and charges were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil Harjani.

Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or an alternative fine totaling twice the gross gain or twice the loss, whichever is greater, and restitution is mandatory. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

source: FBI

http://www.fbi.gov/chicago/press-releases/2013/fbi-arrests-suburban-attorney-for-allegedly-stealing-2.34-million-in-clients-funds-from-her-escrow-account?utm_campaign=email-Immediate&utm_medium=email&utm_source=fbi-in-the-news&utm_content=253049




David Saks



Time&Temp Memphis

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Comment balloon 4 commentsDavid Saks • August 29 2013 03:34PM

Comments

I'm so glad they are getting another fraudster off the streets.  I despise fraudsters.

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 6 years ago

It's a nasty case, Gary.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 6 years ago

Yikes!  Did she really think she was going to get away with this?  

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 6 years ago

They usually do believe it, Gabe, which is why Ripley's Believe It or Not, the Real Estate Version, should be revived.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 6 years ago

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