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West Chester lawyer faces jail for theft

A Chester County lawyer will head to prison.

A Chester County lawyer will head to prison.

Daniel McCaughan, of West Chester, was sentenced today to two to four years in prison and three years of probation. In August 2006, he was charged with theft and dealing with the proceeds of unlawful activities after prosecutors said he was holding a client's money to keep it from being found by law enforcement during a search.

McCaughan was representing a man charged with drug trafficking. When the client's mother asked McCaughan to return the $20,000, prosecutors said, the attorney told her that he did not put the money in escrow, and that he gave the money to a drug cartel tied to the state of Texas. McCaughan said he was on retainer for the cartel and the money belonged to the cartel.

During a February trial, defense attorneys said the money was for legal fees.    - Mari A. Schaefer