Thursday, May 18, 2017

Self Help

An Illinois attorney has sought consent disbarment, admitting to conversion of entrusted funds in two matters.

One case involved in a judgment held by a company with the ironic name of Self Help Federal Credit Union.

The movant engaged in another species of self help.

In or about December 2015, Movant agreed to represent Jesus Perez ("Perez") in efforts to redeem property in Cicero that Perez had previously owned, but which had been subject to a judgment of foreclosure in favor of the lender Self Help Federal Credit Union ("Self Help"), as successor in interest to Second Federal Savings Loan Association ("Second Federal"). Perez paid Movant a flat fee of $1,500 for the representation.

On or about January 4, 2016, Perez gave Movant $185,782.36 to hold in connection with the attempt to redeem the Cicero property. On that day, Movant deposited Perez’s funds into his client trust account at US Bank. On January 7, 2016, prior to any disbursement to Self Help for the purpose of redeeming the Laramie property on Perez’s behalf, and without authority, Movant drew the balance in that account to $11.33, by making electronic transfers and other payments, thereby using $185,771.03 of Perez’s funds for his own business or personal purposes. Between April 27, 2016 and May 5, 2016, Perez gave Movant an additional $18,000 in checks, because Movant had informed Perez that he needed more money to redeem the Cicero property. Movant cashed these checks and used the full $18,000 for his own business or personal expenses, thereby using an additional $18,000 of Perez’s funds without authority. Movant’s use of Perez’s funds constitutes conversion. Movant later overdrew his client trust account by -$1,020.96.

As of July 2016, Movant had not paid any funds towards the redemption of the Cicero property. Around that time, in response to Perez’s requests for information, Movant fraudulently created and transmitted to Perez a document entitled "Satisfaction of Mortgage," purportedly to show that Perez had paid $203,000 to Second Federal. Movant affixed the signature of Norma P. Ortiz, a purported representative of Second Federal to the document.

On or about August 2, 2016, Self Help informed Movant that Perez could no longer redeem the Cicero property, because his right of redemption had expired. On September 9, 2016, Movant spoke to Perez by telephone. At that time, Movant falsely told Perez that he had tendered the funds to Self Help and that Perez would be receiving the deed in the mail.

The second matter involved conversion of settlement proceeds. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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