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Paralegal and Her Employer Sued by Title Company for Theft

Illinois paralegal Catherine Weaver and her former employer, Picklin and Lake, a Rolling Meadows law firm, are the defendants in a lawsuit filed today by Republic Title Company in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that Ms. Weaver used the law firm’s escrow account to steal in excess of one million dollars and that her employers were negligent in failing to detect the fraudulent conduct.

“This is a simple case of greed by the employee and negligence on the part of the leadership at the law firm,” said Mark D. Belongia of Belongia, Shapiro & Hynes, LLP, one of the attorneys for Republic Title Company. “Republic Title Company and their customers were completely deceived and have been taken advantage of by someone who was in a position of trust.”


Ms. Weaver is accused of transferring money from real estate closings held by Republic Title Company since December 2007. She allegedly demanded that the title company send mortgage loan payoffs to the firm’s escrow account, and then wrote checks to herself, supposedly signed by a firm partner, using several different banks to cash them. She was exposed in January 2009 when she asked the title company to issue a check in excess of $300,000.00 – for a closing that never took place.

See The Earth Times.

There’s not much information available as of today on the Internet, other than Republic Title Company’s press release. This will be an interesting case to follow, due to the amount of funds allegedly stolen, the possibility that mortgage payoffs did not reach their intended destinations, and the paralegal’s supervising attorneys being named as defendants in a civil suit. But on its face, this sounds like another unsupervised paralegal grossly abusing a firm’s trust account – in a best case scenario, due to the firm’s insufficient checks and balances system for its own finances.

4 Responses to Paralegal and Her Employer Sued by Title Company for Theft

  1. I have just enough of a National-Enquiring mind to wonder how the money was spent…and also what kind of title company lets a paralegal tell them what to do?

  2. I know her, I took her place for a short time at P&L. Karma, that's all I have to say. It really does come back to bite you in the ass.

  3. Lynne – Also, to answer your question, Picklin & Lake owned Republic Title, Catherine worked for Ron Lake and Jeff Picklin for years, she then moved over to Republic Title and became a closer. Then came back to P&L I believe after Ron passed away…Catherine walked on water at both P&L and Republic. That's why they listened to her.

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]gmail.com

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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