River North attorney pleads guilty to ripping off elderly clients

Jeffrey Schlapp | CPD

A disbarred River North attorney who allegedly embezzled more than $1 million from at least 20 elderly clients and their estates has reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Jeffrey Schlapp, 59, represented senior citizens and their estates in lawsuits against nursing homes, but he sometimes reached settlements without telling his clients. Funds from settlements were deposited into Schlapp’s bank account but were not dispersed to victims. He then kept the money for himself.

The Illinois Supreme Court disbarred Schlapp in late 2017 after regulators said he misappropriated more than $600,000 from nine clients that he represented in cases that accused nursing homes of malpractice, negligence, falls, and death, according to the Cook County Record. The criminal charges grew from the regulators’ work.

Schlapp this week pleaded guilty to one count of theft of $500,000 to $1 million in a plea agreement with prosecutors. Judge Diana Kenworthy sentenced Schlapp to four years. With 786 days of time served on electronic monitoring, he is not expected to spend any time in prison.

Kenworthy also ordered Schlapp to reimburse the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission’s client protection program for $823,525 that the group paid out to his victims.

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