ILNews

Conour alleges feds reneged on deal to delay prosecution

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

Former personal injury attorney William Conour has filed an affidavit in his federal wire fraud case swearing that the government reneged on a deal to delay his prosecution so that he could settle outstanding cases that could have generated about $2 million in fees.

Conour also calls out lawyers who took over those approximately 55 cases. “None of the lawyers who assumed representation of those clients has paid any of the fees owed to me or reimbursed the expenses I advanced,” Conour wrote.

Once one of Indiana’s go-to personal injury attorneys, Conour was charged in April 2012 with a single count of wire fraud. Authorities charged him in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana with defrauding more than 25 clients of at least $4.5 million. Victims and attorneys familiar with the case believe the figure might be several million dollars more

According to the affidavit, Conour and his then-attorney James Voyles met with federal prosecutors, an FBI agent and an Indiana state trooper in the month before his arrest to discuss potential settlement of Conour’s pending cases and to arrange for Voyles to hold the fees from those settlements in a trust from which Conour could draw living expenses and “pay future client annuity costs or client restitution, should any be required.”

“It was agreed that I would have access to these funds for personal and family living expenses and debt obligations upon approval of (the assistant U.S. attorney) or upon court order in the absence of an agreement. The government agreed to defer filing criminal charge until June (2012), to allow the maximum possible accumulation of settlement fees and expenses into this fund,” Conour said in the affidavit.

But Conour said he was in mediation with a client in late April of that year when Voyles called and told him that a criminal complaint would be filed and that Conour would have to surrender on April 27, which he did.

“The publication of the criminal complaint destroyed my law practice and caused my remaining clients to terminate their contract for legal services with me and seek other counsel,” Conour wrote in the affidavit.

(The affidavit erroneously refers to the events taking place in 2011 rather than 2012.) “The filing of the criminal complaint in April (2012), only a couple of weeks after the meeting rather than in June, effectively destroyed the original purpose of the fund by depriving me of the ability to settle any additional cases to increase the fund by more than two settlements” that amounted to about $150,000, Conour wrote.

Voyles said Friday that there had been no written or “handshake” agreement to delay the filing of criminal charges, though he said Conour had hoped such an arrangement could be made.

Conour filed the affidavit as Chief Judge Richard Young considers Conour’s request for $10,000 in living expenses from the  trust now held by the court. The government opposes the release of funds to pay for, among other things, monthly car payments totaling more than $3,500.

Conour was appointed a federal public defender in January after he said his sole monthly income was $2,000 from Social Security. Conour’s trial is scheduled for Sept. 9.

The affidavit is part of Conour’s reply in support of the motion to release funds, in which he writes, “The government refers to the fund in question as a ‘restitution fund.’” Conour contends, “this fund was established to allow the government to monitor the collection and disposition of settlement funds and attorney fees collected between April 3, 2012 … and an unspecified time in June when it was anticipated that, upon agreement with counsel for the government, (Conour) would have limited access to those funds to meet his living expenses.”

The former special assistant U.S. attorney assigned to the case, Richard Cox from the Central District of Illinois, has since retired. The replacement federal prosecutor, Jason Bohm from the Central District of Illinois, could not be reached for comment Friday.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Guilty!
    bill Conman is completely guilty of stealing, lying and being a piece of dirt. He stole from me, and I have all the proof the law needs to send him away! good luck con!
  • Cause and Effect
    It wasn't “[t]he publication of the criminal complaint" that "destroyed [your] law practice," but rather your criminal conduct as an attorney, unless, of course, you are innocent.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Indiana State Bar Association

    Indianapolis Bar Association

    Evansville Bar Association

    Allen County Bar Association

    Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

    facebook
    ADVERTISEMENT
    Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
    1. 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.

    2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

    3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

    4. I am sorry to hear this.

    5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

    ADVERTISEMENT