Chicago lawyer convicted of boosting scheme to con condo lenders among 16 disciplined by IL Sup. Ct.

By Jonathan Bilyk | Nov 22, 2017

Illinois Supreme Court  

A Chicago real estate lawyer convicted of defrauding banks for allegedly boosting a scheme to con mortgage lenders out of $1.5 million in loans on behalf of sham condo purchasers, has been suspended from practicing law in Illinois.

On Nov. 21, the Illinois Supreme Court suspended indefinitely the law license of Carlo P. Palladinetti, of the firm of Palladinetti & Associates, of Chicago, nearly three months since a Chicago federal judge refused his request for a new trial concerning the charges federal prosecutors brought against him in 2012.

The suspension was one of 16 disciplinary actions announced this week against Illinois lawyers by the state’s high court, which oversees all who practice law in Illinois. In all, the court ordered three lawyers disbarred and 13 others suspended for various terms.

According to federal court documents, Palladinetti had been licensed to practice law in Illinois for nearly three decades when he was indicted in 2013 for his role in the alleged scheme.

According to federal prosecutors, beginning in 2005, Palladinetti lended his aid as an attorney to help co-conspirators fraudulently qualify sham condominium buyers for seven mortgage loans. The indictment specified Palladinetti helped to prepare and submit to bankers “real estate sales contracts that defendants … knew contained false and fraudulent information, including inflated sales prices of the properties being sold and false information about earnest money payments the buyers had purportedly made.”

The case against Palladinetti proceeded to a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall in Chicago in March 2016, resulting in a conviction on one count.

Palladinetti asked the court for a new trial, alleging he was not properly represented by his attorney, and hinting he did not knowingly sign a stipulation related to his conviction.

Kendall denied that request in August.

In response, the state Supreme Court suspended his law license on an interim basis and until further order of the court.

At the same time, the state high court announced it had disbarred attorneys Lance Haddix, of Chicago; Beth C. Otero, of Chicago; and Jeffrey L.  Schlapp, of Chicago.

Schlapp, who has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2006, has filed numerous lawsuits against nursing homes in Cook County courts, typically alleging malpractice, negligence and neglect, related to patient falls, skin conditions and death.

In the disciplinary action against him, state legal regulators accused Schlapp of misappropriating “more than $600,000 from at least nine different clients” he had represented in cases against nursing homes.

He was disbarred on consent, according to the Supreme Court’s announcement.

The release from the high court indicated Otero was disbarred for mishandling more than $20,000 in client money in escrow from real estate deals. Further, the court said Otero “fabricated court pleadings” and continued to practice law after the state said she could not do so.

As for Haddix, the state Supreme Court said he was disbarred in Illinois as part of reciprocal discipline after Haddix was first disbarred in California for violating terms of a five-year professional probation, in lieu of a one-year suspension in that state.

Also this week, the Illinois Supreme Court announced it was suspending 12 other attorneys, including:

Christopher D. Olander, of Odenton, Md., who as suspended until further order of the court, as reciprocal discipline after the Maryland state high court suspended him indefinitely for neglecting client matters and taking an $11,000 retainer fee “prior to earning the fee;”

Syed M. Khan, of Schaumburg, suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the court for allegedly neglecting two client matters and failure to refund unearned fees and client funds, among other allegations;

Babette P. Salus, of Springfield, suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the court for “conduct involving neglect, failed to refund unearned fees, commingled client funds” and making a false statement to state attorney regulators “to subvert an … investigation;’

James Lisonbee, of Lincoln, Neb., three years as reciprocal discipline after the Nebraska Supreme Court suspended him for the same term for mishandling at least two client cases;

Joseph E. Pecko, of Burr Ridge, one year and until further order of the court, with the suspension stayed by a two-year conditional probation, after he was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol;

Julie Ann Meyer, of Chicago, one year and until further order of the court for failing “to comply with discovery deadlines in two cases, causing a court to enter summary judgment against one of her clients and monetary sanctions against another” and for billing “her client for a status conference that she did not attend;”

Sarah J. Haasis, of Sterling, six months, for submitting two applications to the Illinois Department of Transportation containing false information about her previous employment;

Edward C. Abderholden, of Chicago, six months and until further order of the court for failure to comply with the terms of a prior probation in lieu of suspension;

Peter Kovac, of Milwaukee, 90 days;

Daniel J. Depke, of Hull, 90 days;

Brian R. Merrell, of Salem, 60 days and until further order of the court; and

James M. Chesloe, of LaGrange, 60 days.


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Organizations in this Story

Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Illinois Department of Transportation Illinois Supreme Court Nebraska Supreme Court Schlapp Law Group

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