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Indianapolis attorney facing fraud charges released from jail

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A high-profile Indianapolis attorney accused of misappropriating $2.5 million in client funds was released from the Decatur County Jail on Monday after being held on a contempt of court charge.

William F. Conour, 65, was arrested on a warrant from the Decatur Circuit Court on July 25 after he failed to appear for a hearing to determine whether he had the funds from a $62,395.75 settlement he won for a client.

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.

Conour won the settlement that prompted the hearing in Decatur Circuit Court for a toddler who was injured in an auto accident. When Conour refused to produce information from the settlement, a lawyer for the girl’s mother filed a motion in June seeking a court hearing to get answers from him.

Conour failed to appear for the hearing on July 19, and the warrant was issued for his arrest.

He had been held at Decatur County Jail in Greensburg southeast of Indianapolis since July 25. Decatur Circuit Court Judge John A. Westhafer released him on Monday after his attorney, Richard Kammen of Indianapolis, filed an emergency motion to vacate the contempt charge.

Conour appeared at the hearing dressed in an orange jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled. He did not speak.

Kammen won Conour’s release from jail after showing the judge a federal court order freezing his client’s funds until after the federal charges are resolved. Kammen told the judge that he would keep him informed of the court proceedings and that Conour would need to pay restitution to his clients if convicted.

“Under the law, we think that his incarceration should be terminated,” Kammen said when arguing for Conour’s release.

Westhafer said he would defer to federal authorities in their case against Conour because they have jurisdiction.

Timothy Devereux, of Ladendorf & Ladendorf, unsuccessfully argued that Conour should be kept in jail.

“The money’s gone,” he told the judge. “He hasn’t explained to anyone where the money went.”

Conour could be formally charged by federal prosecutors by Aug. 15. Prosecutors won an extension to win an indictment from a grand jury based on the voluminous bank and other financial records the jury has had to comb through, according to court documents.

Meanwhile, Conour early this month 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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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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