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Woman sues Crown Point defense attorney over fees

July 18, 2007

Court battles aren't yet over for a Schererville woman sentenced to 27 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in May to facilitating prostitution and money laundering.

From a federal prison in Connecticut, Sun Cha Thompson is suing her Crown Point criminal defense attorney, Tony Zirkle, on claims that he overcharged her about $53,000. She is now representing herself and doesn't speak, read, or write English, according to her suit filed July 11.

In her handwritten filings, Thomas claims Zirkle overcharged her because she doesn't speak, read, or write English and didn't understand his billing structure. She also accuses him of refusing to provide a translator. Her filings note that she agreed to pay $16,875, but Zirkle charged $70,420 for the work he and a paralegal did in her defense.

Thompson was one of nine people charged last year with running four illegal spas in Highland and Dyer, the rest of whom have resolved their cases by pleading guilty or getting the charges dropped. She is disputing characterizations from prosecutors that she was a ringleader in the organization; she claims she was only an "investor" and did not participate in the activities. She's hoping to have her sentence reduced to 18 months and to get credit for 12 months already served, according to her handwritten complaint.

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