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Federal prosecutor opposes funds for Conour, raises concern over assets

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A federal prosecutor says resigned personal injury attorney William Conour should not receive $10,000 from a court fund for living expenses. A court filing objecting to Conour’s request raises concern that he might try to liquidate assets the FBI inventoried.

Conour, who faces a wire fraud charge alleging he stole more than $4.5 million from numerous clients’ trust accounts over a number of years, filed a motion through his public defender this month asking for $10,000 to pay more than $7,000 in claimed monthly living expenses. The government opposes the motion to distribute the money from a court deposit fund established for victim compensation.

Chief Judge Richard Young of the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has yet to set a hearing on the request, in which Conour claims monthly living expenses of $7,040, including $3,500 for car payments.

Special U.S. attorney Jason Bohm responded to Conour’s request in a court filing that argued Conour previously told the court that his living expenses were less than one-quarter what he now claimed, and that “the United States does not believe $3,500 per month in car payments is reasonable or consistent with an individual being provided counsel at public expense.”

Rather, Conour should petition the court to sell assets including extensive collections of art, wine and champagne, Bohm argued. He noted that as a condition of bond, Conour was ordered not to sell or transfer inventoried assets without court approval.

“Given the defendant’s inconsistent claims, the United States believes the court should make an ‘appropriate inquiry into the veracity’ of the defendant’s financial condition,” the government’s response said. It includes in a footnote:  

“The United States remains concerned that the defendant may attempt to liquidate all his assets leaving little for possible restitution for the victims. Thus, should the defendant ask to liquidate any assets, the United States would request an accounting from the defendant of any disposition of assets.”

Conour initially set aside $100,000 for a fund to reimburse victims and to pay his legal expenses. After hiring and dismissing two sets of defense attorneys, he deposited the remaining $39,279 with the court, from which he was provided $35,000 in October to retain new counsel.

In January, he requested a public defender, and Michael J. Donahoe of Indiana Federal Community Defenders Inc. was appointed. Young at that time ordered Conour to return money to the court fund, but it’s unclear how much remains.

“While not reflected on the Court’s docket sheet, the United States believes that the defendant did return approximately $16,000 to the Court’s Deposit Fund,” Bohm wrote.

Donahoe filed a motion for release of funds in which he claimed that Conour’s sole income was $2,140 per month from Social Security, while his more than $7,000 in monthly expenses included car payments of $1,700 for himself and $1,800 for his ex-wife, Jennifer Conour, as provided in a divorce decree issued in Kosciusko County.

Conour’s filing also notes he recently incurred about $3,000 in expenses for repairs to his Carmel home that is for sale.

Conour “believes that the requested funds will be sufficient to cover his expenses through April 2013,” Donahoe wrote.

Conour’s trial is scheduled for Sept. 9.

 

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  1. Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in December, but U.S. District Judge Robert Miller later reduced that to about $540,000 to put the damages for suffering under the statutory cap of $300,000.

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