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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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