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Indiana University will donate former attorney’s gift to victims

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Now that former high-profile personal-injury attorney William Conour has pleaded guilty to accusations that he defrauded dozens of clients of more than $4.5 million, his victims hope for some measure of restitution. At least a fraction of the loss will be covered by the law school to which Conour gave $450,000.

Dressed in faded black-and-white Marion County Jail scrubs and shackled at the wrists and ankles, Conour pleaded guilty July 15 to a single count of wire fraud that could earn him a federal prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of as much as $250,000. Victims include widows and children of people who were killed in workplace accidents, and the money involved came from settlements Conour won for them and was supposed to have held in trust.
 

conour-bill-mug Conour

Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana said Conour would be sentenced at 2 p.m. Oct. 17, at which time victims will be able to testify.

“I think quite a few of them are going to want to exercise their right to address the court,” federal prosecutor Jason Bohm told Young.

Conour admitted to the government’s stipulated facts, though he told Young, “I’m not sure the figures are accurate,” regarding the asserted loss of $4.5 million.

IU returning donation

Conour’s alma mater Indiana University said in a statement it intends to use money Conour gave the school to help compensate his victims. In a statement, IU President Michael A. McRobbie said he would recommend to the school’s board of trustees that Conour’s name be removed from the atrium at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

“McKinney School Dean Andrew Klein announced his full support of this decision, as well as returning all of the funds received by the law school from Mr. Conour for the naming of the atrium to an appropriate fund for compensating the victims of Mr. Conour’s crimes,” the university said in a statement.

Conour asked the court in a filing July 3 to waive a trial that had been scheduled for Sept. 9. The change of plea was entered six days after a judge ordered him jailed for dissipating assets in violation of terms of bond.

The plea says Conour realizes, “I will have to pay restitution,” but it’s unclear where additional money to pay victims might come from. The court fund established for victim restitution last month contained about $21,000.

Daughter speaks out

As victims hope for some level of restitution, Conour’s eldest daughter from his first of three marriages shares that desire. Tonja Eagan was in court July 15 as was a daughter from Conour’s second marriage, Rachel Boehm. Conour spoke with them briefly before U.S. marshals led him back to jail.

Eagan said she saw her father become more focused on material wealth after his third marriage in 1998 to Jennifer Conour. Jennifer Conour filed for divorce in Kosciusko County days after Conour was charged.

When Young revoked Conour’s bond last month, the judge noted that the federal court hadn’t been made aware of the divorce filing, nor was the divorce court informed of the federal case against Conour. Young called the divorce “a way to transfer a significant amount of assets.” Jennifer Conour has not been charged, and Conour’s public defender said she had a pre-marital claim to many of the assets she was awarded in the divorce.

Eagan issued this statement regarding her father’s guilty plea:

“Today felt like the first nail was driven into the coffin for my dad’s future. It is heartbreaking for me as his eldest daughter because I am constantly haunted by the pain and suffering of the victims, who were legally awarded funds for their long-term care and protection that they did not receive.

“I am also haunted by the pain and suffering of my family as we realize dad may never again be an active part of the lives of his four adult daughters, two minor children and four young grandchildren. I hope that his ex-wife decides to return all of the assets that she took in their recent divorce so any possible funds that could go to the victims, will indeed go to the victims. As much as our family is in pain, we are equally devastated for all of the families affected.

“Although sentencing will feel like the final nail in the coffin to my family, I pray it enables the victims to begin healing and to access assets through a victim fund to repay them.”

Boehm said after the hearing that her father “really does want to recoup money for the victims.”

Conour said little on his own behalf during the short hearing July 15. When Young asked if he had been treated for substance abuse or mental-health issues, Conour said he had received treatment for alcohol abuse and was taking a prescription antidepressant.

‘A banking system’

Conour described to Young how funds he received for settlements were used to pay his legal fees and used to pay other expenses when he or the firm encountered cash flow problems.

“I treated it more like a banking system,” he said. He also admitted to accepting a $450,000 settlement for a client without his knowledge and converting the money to personal use. “I did not tell him,” Conour said when Young asked if he ever informed the client.

Another victim, Zackery Condon, 20, of Mishawaka, was a toddler when his father, Michael Condon, died in a workplace accident in South Bend in 1994. Condon’s family says Conour won a six-figure settlement in 1996 that was to be held in trust and available for Zackery Condon’s education and living expenses. Condon says he received just $10,000.

“I’d like to show everybody at least what happened,” Condon said after Conour petitioned the court to plead guilty. “I have one thing left of my father, and that is his motorcycle jacket.

“The money he took from everybody, they could be in hard times right now and they could have needed that,” Condon said. “He did whatever with it.”•

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  • Tiny face and parents
    My husband and I were friends for many years with Bill Conour Sr. and his wife. Bill Conour Sr. and my husband worked together for approx. 20 yrs. They would be so ashamed and embarrassed by what Bill Conour Jr. has done. He should be so ashamed.
  • exactly
    Great comment Jack. Zack Condon is my son. This man needs to pay for his mistakes. I accept his apology (if there was one) for using my son; but I do not trust anything that he says. He has lied too many times and deserves the punishment that he gets. As far as I am concerned, everything should be taken from him. He capitalized on some very horrific events. All the horses, statues, cars, houses, designer clothing wouldn't have been possible without the victims he took advantage of. Those things, along with many many more were paid with by dirty money. Face it, he did bad things and should be treated as such. Just restore the victims as best as possible and move on. Give them what they are entitled to. God Bless!
  • Remorse
    ​These comments have certainly provided insight to the mind-set of Conour's daughters. Conour's recent jail-house interview to the Star, given against the advice of counsel, provided more insight to Conour as well. No remorse is ever mentioned; not for his clients or even for the impact on his family. Conour is not (to use the words of his oldest daughter in the article above) "...haunted by the pain and suffering of his victims...or the pain and suffering of his family," or "devasted for the familes." Not one word of remorse has been recorded in anything Conour has said publicly. He has shown no pity publicly for his victims or what he's done to his family. Shifting blame to someone else only exhibits that Conour and his oldest children still refuse to accept accountability for his actions. If this man were my father, I would advise my siblings against blaming someone else for his decades-long criminal behavior. A lawyer has great and grave responsibilities to the client and to the law. Conour is no novice to the law. He knew what he was doing was ciminal. The comments in this article and in the comments below make it clear that these women refuse to hold him entirely responsible for his actions as a lawyer, but the judicial system will.
  • Victim's Statement
    I hope the victims who can't attend the sentencing know they can do a victim's statement and the court will enter it into public record. I agree with Einstein; daughters 1, 2 & 4 should quit talking and start giving. They should take every gift their father gave them in the last 15 years and give it to the feds. According to the logic of 1, 2 & 4, those things would be victim assets as well since Conour bought them during the time he was swindling his clients.
  • Banking system
    In the 4th to last paragraph, Con-our admits to receiving a client’s $450K settlement, not telling the client, and converting it for his personal use. Con-our says he treated his clients trust accounts like a “banking system”. Where does Con-our do his banking that the bankers take your money for their personal use? No wonder no one can find the $4.5M. The poor slob got ripped-off by the banks!
  • Airing dirty laundry
    Usually comments in this magazine relate to the law, not airing family grievances. The conversations of Ms 1, 2, & 4 are better suited for Maury Povich. I’ll bet wife #3 is thrilled to be freed from those family holidays! Run, 3, run!
  • assets
    I am in no way making excuses for his crimes. I was only commenting as to our request his 3rd wife return assets (even if just some of them) she received in their uncontested divorce. Every little bit will help the victims. Of course, I would help the victims any way I could and maybe I already have worked on some avenues (please don't speak about things you have no idea what you are talking about).
  • You don't know "jack"
    No one said he is guilt free. However, sometimes it takes a catalyst to lead one to make such decisions. If I had money, I would help! I believe I speak for us all when I say that. We "defend" our father because he is our father. We know his heart and we saw what has become of him in the last (almost) 20 years. I wouldn't have guessed all this was happening, too. I won't say names, but we know and He knows.
  • Doing the math
    The math is simple: Criminal charges + defendant pled guilty = prison. There are no mitigating circumstances for an attorney to steal the settlements of his clients. Conour knows the law. He had a fiduciary responsibility to his clients and he is the one who controlled their settlements. Their money was not to be used as his personal “banking system” as he said. Who or what he spent the stolen funds on makes no difference to the court or to his victims. To make excuses for his crimes adds insult to the injury of his clients. If you and your sister are truly heartbroken for your father’s clients, start making payments to the restitution fund.
    • assets
      I am Bill's 2nd eldest daughter and used to work with him. I left my dad's office in April 1994 due to his relationship that started with this person who became his 3rd wife. I support everything my older sister said. I left a job I loved and I know how my dad ran his law office up until April 1994 and I was always proud up to then to say I was his daughter and worked for him. Just because someone marries on a certain date does not mean that a relationship did not start years prior especially when a child is borne from the relationship prior to a date or marriage. My heart breaks for the victims and some I know all too well. This is a very devastating situation that saddens and disgusts me. My sister and my lives w/our family have been a living hell since 1994 and I can now only hope I win the Lottery so I can pay all my dad's victims all their money. It breaks my heart.
    • Do the math
      Maybe my math skills are weak, but if Conour’s third marriage was in 1998 and he was already stealing from his client, Zackery Condon whose case settled in 1996, why is Conour’s daughter, Tonja, blaming the third wife? It seems Conour was already a crook before the third marriage. Conour’s own attorney says the third wife “had a pre-marital claim to many of the assets awarded in the divorce.” In other words, assets that were hers before the marriage…not assets tagged for the victims. Sounds like someone has an axe to grind and is using the press to take a cheap, and dirty, shot. The daughter should face facts and start holding the criminal responsible. He drove the nails into his own coffin.

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      1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

      2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

      3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

      4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

      5. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

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