ILNews

Conour still free though judge ‘deeply, deeply concerned’

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • 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.

    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. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

    2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

    3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

    4. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

    5. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

    ADVERTISEMENT