Runaway Lake Worth attorney Timothy McCabe was holding 50 million Iraqi Dinars for a corporate client that was duped into the investment with promises of a “significant profit,” according to a lawsuit.
McCabe, who turned himself in Thursday, was involved in several side businesses, including, according to friends, the risky purchase of Iraqi money. The lawsuit, filed in late May by PVP Conservation Trust LLC, is the first to mention the money exchange investment.
One U.S. Dollar is equal to about 1,160 Iraqi Dinars. Investors hope to cash out once the Dinar appreciates. But warnings abound about the gamble, including a Washington State Department of Financial Institutions alert that says Dinars are not readily exchangeable in the United States.
According to the lawsuit, filed by Boca Raton-based attorney Michael Moccia, PVP Conservation’s deal was finalized March 15 _ two weeks before McCabe disappeared. The company believed the 50 million in Iraqi Dinar, or about $43,100, would be held in trust by McCabe’s law firm.
“It has become apparent that (the company’s) investment has been stolen by defendant McCabe,” the lawsuit states. “Such written agreement is a sham and was only used by McCabe to provide a veil of legitimacy to want is now known to be a fraud.”
A criminal complaint filed by the FBI on Wednesday alleges McCabe took as much as $8 million from clients and his firm’s bank accounts. He is being held at the Palm Beach County jail after waiving a pretrial detention hearing Thursday.
Also named in the lawsuit is McCabe’s partner Steve Samiljan. Neither Samiljan or Moccia could be reached Friday afternoon.
McCabe disappeared April 2, leaving clients and friends guessing about his location or even whether he was still alive.
A longtime friend and client, Marie Pupke, told The Palm Beach Post in April that McCabe said to one of his daughters that he would be back in two months. In emails to his wife and colleagues he said he was trying to set things right “over the next few days.”
Pupke also said in April that the last time McCabe went to her house he told her “he made some sort of an investment, and if it did not pay off, that his life would be over.” He also told her he was going to Iraq in February, Pupke said.
The lawsuit from PVP Conservation says that a transaction involving the Iraqi Dinar was supposed to take place in Reno, Nev. “due to Reno being some sort of a safe haven for this type of transaction.”
PVP Conservation claims McCabe was holding $130,670, which it believes he stole. The company also says McCabe failed to perform foreclosure defense work related to four investment properties that were lost to foreclosure.