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Conour fraud trial set for September

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A federal judge Friday morning set a new trial date of Sept. 9 for an Indianapolis high-profile lawyer accused of misappropriating millions in client funds.

William F. Conour, 65, appeared at the hearing at U.S. District Court in Indianapolis with his new counsel, federal public defender Michael Donahoe.

Judge Richard L. Young postponed Conour’s original trial date in October after lawyers Richard Kammen and Dorie Maryan withdrew from the case in September.

The two had represented Conour since May, about a month after federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against him. But their relationship soured to the point that the two asked to be removed from the case, per Conour’s request, according to court documents.

Young appointed the public defender to represent Conour after he told the judge that his only income is $2,000 in monthly Social Security checks and he faces foreclosure on his home.

The court previously had released $35,000 from Conour’s frozen accounts to allow him to retain new counsel. But Conour instead sought out a public defender and spent $15,000 on living expenses, he told the judge.

Young ordered him to return the remaining $20,000 within the next week after federal prosecutors argued that the money should be used for restitution to help repay alleged victims.

“Those funds were released, at least in my mind, to establish a retainer [for a lawyer],” Young told Conour. “Since that’s not going to be the case here, we’ll have that money returned to a trust account.”

According to a criminal complaint filed in April, Conour is accused of engaging in a scheme from December 2000 to March 2012 to defraud his clients, using money obtained from new settlement funds to pay for old settlements and debts. Prosecutors charge he kept clients’ settlement proceeds for his own use.

In July, Conour relinquished his law license to the Indiana bar.

Under Indiana law, he will have to wait five years if he wishes to petition for reinstatement to the bar.

Conour was admitted to the bar in 1974 and had no previous disciplinary history.

For years, he had been among the highest-profile attorneys in Indiana, representing individuals seriously injured or killed in construction accidents.

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  • Bill Conour
    Not the man I knew years ago while we both worked for the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. I'm very disappointed in Bill.

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  1. Indianapolis Bar Association President John Trimble and I are on the same page, but it is a very large page with plenty of room for others to join us. As my final Res Gestae article will express in more detail in a few days, the Great Recession hastened a fundamental and permanent sea change for the global legal service profession. Every state bar is facing the same existential questions that thrust the medical profession into national healthcare reform debates. The bench, bar, and law schools must comprehensively reconsider how we define the practice of law and what it means to access justice. If the three principals of the legal service profession do not recast the vision of their roles and responsibilities soon, the marketplace will dictate those roles and responsibilities without regard for the public interests that the legal profession professes to serve.

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