Legal Ethics

Lawyer deeded $445K home to wife before vanishing--at same time as $3M in law firm money, bar says


Updated: Missing for nearly a month along with, authorities allege, around $3 million from his law firm and his title company accounts, a South Florida lawyer satisfied a $386,000 mortgage on his Boca Raton home in December and deeded the house, worth an estimated $445,000, to his wife shortly before he disappeared, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

Timothy McCabe, 55, left on what his wife thought was a business trip on April 2. Then, later that day she got an email from his account. “You never knew what I was doing, but after the bank took our properties I made a series of very bad business decisions,” it said. “I made people millions and none for us. I am trying to rectify it. If I cannot then I am going to set my affairs in order and finish a few things I started … I will love you forever.”

McCabe, a real estate specialist, is accused of taking some money intended for real estate transactions, as well as funds he persuaded individuals to invest. But at the same time he was supposedly buying properties in short sales and reselling them at a profit on investors’ behalf, he was also in foreclosure on multiple properties including his own law office, the newspaper says. Some clients also say he took their money to help them fight foreclosure cases, but did little or nothing for them.

The Florida Bar filed a legal ethics complaint with the state supreme court on April 1, on accusing McCabe of unethical conduct concerning one of his personal foreclosure cases. Then, after McCabe disappeared, it sought and got an emergency suspension of his law license.

Auditors are still trying to figure out exactly how much money, total, is missing, and from which accounts, the newspaper says. Previously, authorities estimated that losses could total as much as $6 million.

“I can just tell you that a lot of money is missing and a lot of clients are hurt,” McCabe’s law partner, Steve Samiljan, told the Sun-Sentinel earlier in April. He is cooperating with authorities, but declined to comment for the most recent article.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Foreclosure defense lawyer is missing; his law partner says at least $6M in firm money is gone”

ABAJournal.com: “Bar cites email from missing lawyer in emergency suspension case over missing law firm millions”

Palm Beach Post: “Missing Lake Worth attorney’s law license suspended by Supreme Court”

Updated at 12:20 p.m. to include more information about estimated amount of missing money.

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