Back in February, the Chicago Tribune reported on the legal issues facing an attorney and insurance agent in Oak Brook, Illinois. The lawsuits against the individual have been bought on both by clients and business associates who claimed that they had been defrauded by attorney Kathleen Niew.
In addition to the lawsuits were attempts by regulators to have Niew’s licenses (for the practices of both law and insurance) suspended. Since February, the Chicago Tribune has reported an indefinite license suspension on behalf of the Illinois Supreme Court as well as the Illinois Department of Insurance’s suspension of her insurance license based on reports of forged signatures and failure to disclose actions made on behalf of individual companies.
Last Thursday, however, Ms. Niew was arrested at her law firm on federal fraud charges.
The charges accuse the attorney of legal malpractice and ten counts of fraud against her clients, a couple who claim that the malfeasance has cost them their entire life savings (Niew is charged with deceiving them out of $2.3 million).
However, after entering a plea of not guilty during her arraignment last Thursday and posting $50,000 bail, Ms. Niew has been released.
The records allege that the couple initially invested $2.34 million into Niew’s escrow account. The funds were to be used for commercial real estate transactions but were instead invested into a mining operation between January of 2010 and December of 2012.
In conjunction with the investment, the charges allege that Niew was to receive a 20% finder’s fee in exchange for supplying the operation with $1.5 million (supplied unknowingly by the couple).To keep this information from her clients, Niew told them that the bank had mistakenly deposited the funds into the wrong account. Although the couple is suing their former attorney, they are not named in the federal indictment.
Ms. Niew was released Thursday on $50,000 bail after entering a not guilty plea at her arraignment. In addition to being an author and frequently featured speaker at seminars, she also hosts her own radio show where she offers advice on issues related to estates and financial planning.
The Patterson Law Firm has handled a wide range of both fraud and legal malpractice cases, including those in federal court. We have attorneys that handle both the defense and prosecution of legal malpractice and fraud. To learn more about what our firm offers, visit pattersonlawfirm.com or call (312) 223-1699.