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Legal Ethics

Law partner won’t be disciplined over attorney’s $5.9M theft from their firm

Posted May 28, 2014 1:30 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Timothy McCabe is now disbarred and serving a five-year federal prison term, after absconding last year with some $5.9 million in client funds held in escrow by his law firm.

Some of his victims also blamed his law partner, Steven Samiljan, for their loss, contending that Samiljan should have realized something was amiss with the firm's trust accounts. However, a Florida Bar grievance committee panel did not agree, finding no probable cause to pursue an attorney disciplinary case against Samiljan, the Palm Beach Post's Real Time blog reports.

Samiljan appropriately had "an element of trust" in his law partner that justified allowing McCabe to oversee the firm's escrowed client funds, said the 15th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee in a written ruling early this year. Plus, most of the money was taken just before McCabe ran away from the firm.

"The sophisticated nature of the theft from the firm’s trust account (which would have avoided detection except for the most detailed of audits) along with the thefts in most of these matters occurring just days and weeks before Mr. McCabe absconded did not give you any warning that anything was amiss until Mr. McCabe’s email of April 2, 2013,” the committee wrote.

Samiljan declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper Wednesday.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Lawyer deeded $445K home to wife before vanishing—at same time as $3M in law firm money, bar says"

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