Sunday, August 28, 2016

After The Fall

An attorney who has been charged by the Illinois Administrator with assisting his disbarred spouse's subsequent unauthorized practice has filed an answer denying any misconduct.

From the complaint (which also charges an "affiliated" attorney with facilitating unauthorized practice)

On June 27, 2013, a default hearing was held in relation to Commission number 2012PR00162, after which the Hearing Board issued a report and recommendation recommending that Ms. Niew be disbarred.

On November 20, 2013, the Court entered an order disbarring Ms. Niew as a result of her mishandling of her client's $2.34 million.

Shortly after November 20, 2013, Respondent Niew learned that Ms. Niew had been disbarred...

Between November 20, 2013 and about early June 2014, Ms. Niew maintained an office in the Jorie Boulevard suite, and she was physically present in the office four to five times per week. During that same period of time Respondent Niew observed Ms. Niew talking on the office telephone, writing letters on the office computer, and conducting meetings. Although Respondent Niew knew that his wife had been disbarred, he encouraged her to deposit money into the firm's client funds account that he knew or should have known was client money for legal services...

Between November 2013 through May 2014, Respondent Allegra, an affiliated attorney at the Law Offices of Stanley Niew, participated in meetings between Ms. Niew and at least six legal clients, including Harry Haralampopolous, Maciej Wilhelm, Peter Vhalos, Julia and Michael Maloney, and John Hryn. Respondent Allegra accepted instructions from Ms. Niew regarding legal work to be completed by Respondent Allegra on behalf of at least one client, Arno Reichel.

The answer responds

[Respondent] Stan denies the allegation that he was a partner with his wife Kathleen at NiewLegal Partners, at any point in time. Stan lacks sufficient information to definitively admit or deny the details of Allegra's affiliation with Niew Legal Partners, subject to the qualification that he believes at one point Allegra was a contract attorney for and subsequently employed by Niew Legal Partners.

 Whether he learned of the disbarment shortly after it had occurred

Admitted, subject to the qualification that Stan lacks sufficient information to admit or deny when he learned that his wife, Kathleen, had been disbarred.


Stan admits that at various points in time, on or near the dates alleged, his wife, Kathleen, was physically present at the Jorie Blvd. Offices, but not to engaged in the practice of law, and that, at some point, his wife, Kathleen, ceased to be present at the Jorie Blvd. Office.

The Chicago Tribune had reported on the criminal case against Kathleen Niew

Oak Park couple Jamal and Leda Khoury thought they were investing their life savings wisely when they transferred $2.3 million into their real estate attorney’s escrow account three years ago to buy commercial real estate properties in the area.

But within hours of the cash landing in the supposedly secure account, their attorney, Kathleen Niew, was stealing it to invest in an ill-fated scheme, federal prosecutors say. Over the next several weeks, Niew wired millions of dollars to mining company investors in far flung places like Singapore and Australia, expecting to make a hefty commission for herself in the deal.

The mining companies failed. Niew never made a penny. And by the time the Khourys realized something was wrong, their nest egg was gone.

On Wednesday, the couple watched silently as Niew, once a seemingly successful author, radio host and seminar speaker, pleaded guilty to 10 fraud counts in a surprise move in Chicago’s federal court. She had been scheduled to go to trial next month. She pleaded guilty “blind,” meaning she had no deal with prosecutors on the length of her sentence...

The guilty plea marked a swift fall from grace for Niew, a self-styled real estate and probate law guru known for her Saturday morning call-in radio show on WIND-AM 560.

The show was canceled in March 2013, shortly after the Tribune detailed Niew's mounting legal troubles, including a lawsuit filed by the Khourys over the missing funds, business associates who accused her of swindling them and state regulators pushing to revoke her law license.

Niew was arrested by federal agents last August at her Oak Brook law office. Three months later, she was disbarred by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Records show Niew, who began practicing law in 1981, had a history of disciplinary proceedings that dated back to 1989. In 2001, justices suspended her license for nine months based on allegations she forged clients' signatures, record show. In 1989 the state disciplined her for falsely stating that she was single when she married again.

In addition to prison time, prosecutors are seeking $2.34 million in forfeiture as well as her 5,500-square-foot Burr Ridge home and a 2009 Lexus LS sedan, records show.

Niew also faces separate federal charges in South Carolina alleging she defrauded investors by promising their money “could not be lost and that the rate of return was guaranteed and far in excess of normal investment returns,” court records show.

Her six-year sentence was reported by the LaGrange Patch.

Niew was a fast rising financial advisor and attorney, founding Niew Legal Partners, LLC, in Oak Brook, along with her husband, Stanley. Among the many accomplishments Niew touts in her online bio, she is a former Republican Businesswoman of the Year, author of two books, a radio probate law guru, and a star on the seminar circuit with her “Money Talks For Women” series.

No answer has been posted for Mr. Allegra. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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