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Judge sentences attorney Page to probation, fine

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SOUTH BEND—Attorney and real estate developer Paul J. Page will serve two years of probation and pay a $10,000 fine for concealing the source of a $362,000 down payment on his purchase of a state-leased office building in Elkhart.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Miller Jr. issued the sentence at a Monday morning hearing in South Bend.

Federal prosecutors had argued Page, 49, should serve a 14-month prison sentence for a wire fraud count. Page pleaded guilty in January before the government tried co-defendants, John M. Bales and William E. Spencer, at an eight-day jury trial in February that ended in acquittal on all 13 counts for the pair.

The judge scoffed at the government's sentencing request for Page, noting the crime resulted in no losses to either the lender or the state. He said Page, a father of three without a criminal record, does not pose a danger of offending again.

Page spoke briefly during the hearing, after taking a few moments to compose himself.

"Hopefully a man is not defined by one action," he said, before turning away from the judge to thank a courtroom full of friends and family members.

Page declined to talk after the sentencing hearing, but his attorney Robert W. Hammerle described the ruling as "utter relief." Hammerle described the offense as an "isolated technical violation" that is actually quite common.

The judge seemed to agree, noting that he hadn't seen "many or any" cases with "less aggravating circumstances."

Prosecutors had argued in a sentencing memorandum that Page should be sentenced at the high end of guidelines, calling for a range of 8 to 14 months, since as an attorney he should have "known better" than to conceal the source of his down payment for the Elkhart building. The down payment came from Bales, who also brokered the lease deal with the state to use the building.

The government said the deal violated an agreement between Bales' firm, Venture Cos., and the state that barred the company from direct or indirect ownership of properties where state agencies leased space.

Hammerle noted that the state's Department of Child Services renewed its lease deal for the building since federal prosecutors filed their case against Bales, Page and Spencer, and are happy with the space.

Before issuing the sentence, Judge Miller said he determined the crime did not fit the sentencing guidelines established in Page's plea agreement. He removed a few sentencing enhancements from the calculation, resulting in a recommended prison sentence between zero and 6 months.

Still, the felony conviction means Page likely will lose his license to practice law. That would be up to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.
 

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  1. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  2. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  3. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  4. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  5. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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