The Florida Bar is taking swift action against Lake Worth attorney Timothy McCabe, asking today that he be permanently disbarred.
McCabe, who disappeared in early April along with millions of dollars in client money, turned himself in to the FBI last week after a criminal complaint was filed against him.
A 10 a.m. hearing is set for Wednesday in Broward County Circuit Court seeking sanctions against McCabe, who was suspended by the Florida Supreme Court in April. Florida Bar spokeswoman Francine Walker said the Bar will ask that McCabe be permanently disbarred from practicing law in Florida.
The criminal complaint filed in federal court alleges McCabe took up to $8 million from clients and out of his firm’s bank accounts. He is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of fraud on a financial institution. Each charge carries a maximum of up to 30 years in prison.
McCabe’s attorney Robert Gershman has asked that today’s hearing be delayed to give him time to review the Bar’s case.
Bob Jarvis, a Nova Southeastern University law professor who specializes in legal ethics, said it’s not unusual in high-profile cases for the Bar to seek sanctions even without a guilty finding in court.
“There are a large number of clients complaining, a large amount of money is missing and he was a fugitive from justice,” Jarvis said. “The moment you become a fugitive, you’ve shown you don’t have the necessary moral character to keep a law license.”
McCabe, a Boca Raton resident, was facing disciplinary action from the Florida Supreme Court before his disappearance for his actions in a foreclosure lawsuit against one of his properties. After he went missing, the court suspended his license in an emergency action.
McCabe waived his right to a pretrial detention hearing last week and is being held without bail. His next court appearance on the criminal charges is scheduled for July 22.