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Conour still free though judge ‘deeply, deeply concerned’

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Former leading personal-injury attorney William Conour remained free Thursday pending his wire fraud trial after a federal judge withheld ruling on the government’s bid to revoke his bond on claims that he dissipated assets against court orders.

Chief Judge Richard Young of the Southern District of Indiana wants to hear from a former U.S. attorney who Conour testified approved of art sales and other money transfers that constitute part of the government’s bond revocation request. Young also at times seemed incredulous about the circumstances regarding William and Jennifer Conour’s divorce that took place after the bond terms were set.

Conour is accused of defrauding 25 or more clients of at least $4.5 million and is scheduled to stand trial on Sept. 9. He faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000.

Conour took the stand for about an hour Thursday, arguing that former U.S. Attorney Richard Cox, who has since retired, had allowed him to use assets derived from the sale of art and from other sources for personal expenses as well as for hiring counsel and providing money for a potential victim restitution fund. Conour said the agreements were made with his former attorneys and during the period when Conour represented himself.

The government claims Cox never authorized Conour to dissipate more than $80,000 in the latter months of 2012 in the manner in which he did, insisting the money was to be used to retain counsel and form a potential victim restitution pool, and that Conour therefore violated bond conditions. Conour was appointed a federal defender in January after he said he couldn’t afford counsel.

“Mr. Cox was very amenable to work with,” Conour testified, saying the parties operated under a “loose, informal agreement,” and that he was trying to avoid bankruptcy.

But U.S. Attorney Jason Bohm countered that Conour’s relationship with Cox soured after Conour sent an email to the prosecutor stating, “I’m tired of being blackmailed with my own funds,” and that Cox never authorized the spending of money from art sales for Conour’s living expenses.

Young said he was “deeply, deeply concerned here regarding the remaining assets and what may happen to them,” but set another hearing at 1:30 p.m. June 28 to receive testimony from Cox.

Young also said he was troubled by the divorce action Conour’s ex-wife, Jennifer, filed days after he was charged in April 2012. Young said Kosciusko Superior Court, where the action was filed was “never notified of this proceeding,” nor was the federal court notified of the divorce. “That’s a real concern of the court,” Young said. “There’s a proper procedure” for approving dissipation of assets “that wasn’t followed here.”

Conour “should have notified this court and the Kosciusko County court what was going on here,” Young said, noting later the judge in Warsaw might not have approved a divorce had he known about the wire fraud case.
 
“It’s obvious to the court what’s going on here. … I think it’s obvious to everyone what’s going on.”

The Conours settled the uncontested divorce in December that divided assets, and the government contended Thursday that action alone was sufficient to constitute a violation of bond. But Young said he first wanted to hear from Cox to form a complete record and weigh his credibility against Conour’s.

Conour represented himself in the divorce, and Young interrupted when defense attorney Michael Donahoe said, “he’s not an experienced divorce litigator.”

“He’s a lawyer,” Young said. “He understands conditions of bond, right?”

Donahoe acknowledged Conour should have notified the court about the divorce before agreeing to transfer assets as a result of the agreement. “In hindsight, it would have been advisable to do that.” Donahoe noted that if he had represented Conour at the time, he would have advised him to do so.

Young also later took issue when Conour testified that he was ordered by the Kosciusko County court to pay his ex-wife’s car payments – a stipulation Conour later could not identify on the stand after Bohm handed him a copy of the divorce settlement.

“Mr. Conour, you weren’t ordered to do anything by the Kosciusko County court,” Young said, noting the uncontested nature of the divorce agreement.

Donahoe asked Conour about the value of assets that were transferred to his ex-wife. Conour said he valued the personal property he retained at about $144,000 compared with about $30,000 for Jennifer Conour.

“My goal was to preserve as much of the assets as we could,” Conour testified.  

Meanwhile, Conour said he continues to pursue legal fees that he contends are owed from cases handled by other attorneys that were “taken from my firm.”

“There’s $2 million sitting in a lawyer’s account,” he contended, noting later that some 50 cases were transferred from his former firm. “I’m entitled to a fee in every one of those cases,” which he testified would go into the court trust fund.

 

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  • Theory
    No irony here, John. Conour’s clients are wise to him. Evidently you’ve missed discovery that disclosed Conour was aware he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar, actually many cookie jars, but continued to spend any monies he secured on himself and his lifestyle. Your theory is idealistic and assumes Conour has the soul of a good attorney and therefore he would take care of his clients. Conour has no soul. He greedily took awarded settlements from his disabled clients and spent it on his own edacious desires. You are naïve to think if he kept working he would put his fees into a restitution fund. He is who he is and has proven he will use any means to cheat and manipulate those who trust him and the judicial system that is supposed to protect them. Sorry John, you don’t send the fox back into the hen house after he’s caught devouring the hens. Conour can’t be trusted. He has no more honor than that fox.
  • irony
    the irony of situations like this is that the clients whom conour cheated are the ones who should be pulling hardest for him to remain free and keep his law license, so they have some hopes of him paying back. really bury the guy deep and then there will be little hope of restitution
    • Concerned?
      Deeply, deeply concerned? I'll bet if it was the judge's money that had been swindled we'd see deep concern with actual consequences. First a Ponzi scheme, then a shell game with the assets…c'mon, hasn't Conour abused the judicial system and his clients long enough? I say enough already.
    • Wow
      Wow, just wow.

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    1. Some are above the law in Indiana. Some lined up with Lodges have controlled power in the state since the 1920s when the Klan ruled Indiana. Consider the comments at this post and note the international h.q. in Indianapolis. http://www.theindianalawyer.com/human-trafficking-rising-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/42468. Brave journalists need to take this child torturing, above the law and antimarriage cult on just like The Globe courageously took on Cardinal Law. Are there any brave Hoosier journalists?

    2. I am nearing 66 years old..... I have no interest in contacting anyone. All I need to have is a nationality....a REAL Birthday...... the place U was born...... my soul will never be at peace. I have lived my life without identity.... if anyone can help me please contact me.

    3. This is the dissent discussed in the comment below. See comments on that story for an amazing discussion of likely judicial corruption of some kind, the rejection of the rule of law at the very least. http://www.theindianalawyer.com/justices-deny-transfer-to-child-custody-case/PARAMS/article/42774#comment

    4. That means much to me, thank you. My own communion, to which I came in my 30's from a protestant evangelical background, refuses to so affirm me, the Bishop's courtiers all saying, when it matters, that they defer to the state, and trust that the state would not be wrong as to me. (LIttle did I know that is the most common modernist catholic position on the state -- at least when the state acts consistent with the philosophy of the democrat party). I asked my RCC pastor to stand with me before the Examiners after they demanded that I disavow God's law on the record .... he refused, saying the Bishop would not allow it. I filed all of my file in the open in federal court so the Bishop's men could see what had been done ... they refused to look. (But the 7th Cir and federal judge Theresa Springmann gave me the honor of admission after so reading, even though ISC had denied me, rendering me a very rare bird). Such affirmation from a fellow believer as you have done here has been rare for me, and that dearth of solidarity, and the economic pain visited upon my wife and five children, have been the hardest part of the struggle. They did indeed banish me, for life, and so, in substance did the the Diocese, which treated me like a pariah, but thanks to this ezine ... and this is simply amazing to me .... because of this ezine I am not silenced. This ezine allowing us to speak to the corruption that the former chief "justice" left behind, yet embedded in his systems when he retired ... the openness to discuss that corruption (like that revealed in the recent whistleblowing dissent by courageous Justice David and fresh breath of air Chief Justice Rush,) is a great example of the First Amendment at work. I will not be silenced as long as this tree falling in the wood can be heard. The Hoosier Judiciary has deep seated problems, generational corruption, ideological corruption. Many cases demonstrate this. It must be spotlighted. The corrupted system has no hold on me now, none. I have survived their best shots. It is now my time to not be silent. To the Glory of God, and for the good of man's law. (It almost always works that way as to the true law, as I explained the bar examiners -- who refused to follow even their own statutory law and violated core organic law when banishing me for life -- actually revealing themselves to be lawless.)

    5. to answer your questions, you would still be practicing law and its very sad because we need lawyers like you to stand up for the little guy who have no voice. You probably were a threat to them and they didnt know how to handle the truth and did not want anyone to "rock the boat" so instead of allowing you to keep praticing they banished you, silenced you , the cowards that they are.

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