Legal Ethics

Attorney Accused of Renting Foreclosure Client's Home to Section 8 Tenant for His Own Benefit

An Illinois lawyer is facing a legal ethics case that alleges he rented a foreclosure client’s house in suburban Chicago without permission, misrepresenting himself as the owner to the Housing Authority of Joliet to collect about $20,000 in rent from the federally funded Section 8 subsidized housing program.

In a Sept. 20 complaint, the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission alleges that Joseph P. McCaffery, who practices in Aurora, also “took no action to expedite the foreclosure” of the Bolingbrook home owned by Jennifer and Steven Gibson, the Beacon-News reported.

The article indicates that McCaffery represented the Gibsons, and Jennifer Gibson said they paid him a flat fee of $2,500, moved out and instructed him to expedite the handling of the case. She said the couple had no idea the house was rented until they found a tenant living in it months later and received no income from the rental.

McCaffery told the newspaper he did nothing wrong, collecting rent as payment for legal fees as he was authorized to do under a power of attorney. “It gives me all power with respect to that property,” he said. “I could have sold it. I could have rented it. I could have lived in it. … I can burn it down if I want to.”

He also said he made no effort to delay the foreclosure case, and pointed out that plaintiff lenders control the pace of the litigation.

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