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Judge sets hearing on Conour bond revocation bid

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A judge Thursday set a hearing to determine whether former personal injury attorney William Conour will remain free pending his federal wire fraud trial.

Conour is charged with defrauding at least 25 personal-injury and wrongful-death clients of more than $4.5 million and is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 9 in federal court in Indianapolis.

Chief Judge Richard Young set a hearing for 10 a.m. June 13 on the government’s claims that Conour violated conditions of his bond by dissipating scores of assets that federal agents inventoried at his home, law office and horse farm after his arrest in April 2012.

Conour argues that most of the assets the government classifies as missing were given to his ex-wife pursuant to a divorce agreement executed months after Conour was charged. He acknowledges auctioning sculptures for about $10,000 months after he was granted bond.  

Meanwhile, the government supplemented its bond revocation request by asserting that after Conour received $35,000 from a court restitution fund to hire counsel last October, he began selling pieces of art with the consent of a former federal prosecutor who since has retired. Special assistant U.S. attorney Jason Bohm asserts that proceeds from the art sales were to help fund Conour’s legal representation.

“The United States agreed that for any sale the art dealer would withdraw the commission and sales tax from the sale, notify the United States of the sales price and net proceeds, and then forward the balance” to Conour, according to the supplemental filing. Sales went well, and Conour advised the court in late November, “I should be able to retain counsel within the next 30 days once I receive the funds,” according to the government.

But that never happened. Conour appeared before the court in January and requested a taxpayer-funded federal public defender. The court appointed James Donahoe as Conour’s public defender and ordered Conour to return remaining funds to the court. He gave back $16,000, the government said in its supplemental filing.

“In total, the defendant received $62,113.50 from the sale of art in November and December 2012, and a combined total of $97,113.50 when including the funds he received from the Court on October 22, 2012,” the government claims.    

Conour “disposed of more than $80,000 since October 22, 2012,” the government alleges. “These funds were not used to increase the restitution pool. Neither were the funds used to obtain counsel. Rather, it appears the defendant dissipated the assets on ‘personal expenses.’ He had neither the United States nor, more importantly, this Court’s approval to do so, thus violating the terms of his bond. This further supports the United States’ request that the defendant’s bond be revoked.”

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