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Judges order court to take second look at restitution attorney must pay

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A Monroe County attorney who pleaded guilty to Class D felony counterfeiting and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution to a victim may not have to pay that full amount after the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday ordered the trial court to take another look at the restitution amount.

Bloomington attorney Philip H. Chamberlain was charged with five Class C felonies stemming from his involvement in the development of a golf course in Orleans, Ind., for which he was a consultant. The golf course was owned by Dwight Hart.

Chamberlain convinced acquaintance Shannon Ramey and his girlfriend Helen Fields, who own Dorothy Apartment Rentals, to invest money on behalf of their company into the golf course. Unbeknownst to Ramey, Fields or Hart, Chamberlain was cashing checks made out to the golf course and kept a portion of the money.

At one point, Hart loaned Chamberlain $5,000 for performing work as a consultant, money he never repaid.

At his sentencing and restitution hearing, Chamberlain explained he repaid Hart $25,500 before any criminal charges were filed against him. The trial court ordered him to pay Hart $15,000 in restitution, which included the $5,000 for the unpaid loan.

Chamberlain, pro se, appealed, claiming the loan shouldn’t be included in restitution because his counterfeiting conviction didn’t cover that incident. The Court of Appeals agreed in the not-for-publication opinion, Philip H. Chamberlain v. State of Indiana, 53A01-1305-CR-247.

“But because we do not have the transcript from Chamberlain’s guilty-plea hearing, we cannot consult the factual basis for his counterfeiting conviction to see what written instrument it covered. Without this information, we cannot determine the amount of restitution, if any, Hart is entitled to after taking into account that Chamberlain has already paid Hart $25,500. We must therefore remand this case to the trial court for it to determine the amount of restitution, if any, Hart is entitled to for the counterfeiting conviction only, taking into consideration Chamberlain’s $25,500 payment to Hart,” the appellate court ruled.  

Chamberlain received an interim suspension June 2013 pending final resolution of any resulting disciplinary action.

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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