U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

Jury: Real estate execs Bales, Spencer not guilty of fraud

February 8, 2013
Cory Schouten
John M. Bales lifted his crossed hands to his face and began to cry Thursday evening as a federal judge read the same jury verdict on each of 13 fraud counts against the real estate broker and his partner: Not guilty.
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Bales trial in jury's hands after colorful closings

February 7, 2013
Cory Schouten
The jury began deliberations Thursday in the federal fraud trial of Indianapolis real estate broker John M. Bales and partner William E. Spencer after three hours of spirited closing arguments Wednesday.
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Defense rests in Bales trial after flurry of witnesses

February 6, 2013
Cory Schouten
Closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday afternoon in the federal fraud trial of Indianapolis real estate broker John M. Bales and partner William E. Spencer after the defense raced through seven witnesses Tuesday and early Wednesday.
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Defense attorneys turn tough in Bales trial

February 1, 2013
Cory Schouten
The legal team representing real estate broker John M. Bales and partner William E. Spencer haven't called their first witness and already they're putting up a spirited fight as federal prosecutors seek to prove charges including bank, mail and wire fraud.
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Former Venture employee turns on Bales during testimony

January 31, 2013
Cory Schouten
An FBI investigation into Venture Real Estate Services and principals John Bales and Bill Spencer had already begun when Matthew Dyer signed on as the company's controller in December 2009.
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Defense attorneys in Bales case trash former co-defendant

January 30, 2013
Cory Schouten
Indianapolis attorney and developer Paul J. Page is no longer a co-defendant in the fraud trial of real estate broker John M. Bales and a partner after agreeing to a plea deal, but you wouldn't know it from the action Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
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Northern Indiana judges help create state's mock trial tradition

January 30, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Standing between two judges offering different opinions on how to proceed is not a place many attorneys would want to be. However, a group of students at Adams High School in South Bend often found themselves with opposing pieces of advice from the jurists. Two sets of instructions, two judges and no chance for a recess.
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Fraud trial for broker Bales begins in South Bend

January 28, 2013
Cory Schouten
The federal fraud trial of Indianapolis real estate broker John M. Bales and a partner began Monday morning in South Bend with a jury-selection process that may not have run as smoothly if it took place in central Indiana.
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Judge dismisses federal right-to-work challenge

January 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A U.S. District judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed in Hammond by a labor union challenging the state’s right-to-work law for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Chief Judge Philip P. Simon in the Northern District of Indiana did allow two counts claiming the law violates the Indiana Constitution to proceed in state court.
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Sequestration would deepen staff cuts, chief judges warn

January 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
Federal courts that have squeezed staff as budgets shrank could be forced to furlough employees if Congress fails to avoid mandatory budget cuts that now are slated to take effect in March.
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Ex-Chicago cop among 3 sentenced in Latin Kings prosecutions

January 14, 2013
IL Staff
The continuing federal prosecutions of the Latin Kings street gang that federal authorities have implicated in 19 murders resulted in a 19-year sentence for a former Chicago police officer.
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Indianapolis attorney pleads guilty in deal with prosecutors

January 4, 2013
Cory Schouten
Indianapolis attorney and developer Paul J. Page has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in an investigation that also targets former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.
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Man argues the sentencing guidelines were applied incorrectly

December 27, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A Wisconsin man who used a stolen Indiana driver’s license to obtain a passport had his sentence affirmed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals which held certain provisions in the sentencing guidelines should be applied differently depending on the circumstances.
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Northern District adopts revision to bankruptcy rule

December 20, 2012
IL Staff
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana has adopted revisions to Local Rule B-7056-1, Motions for Summary Judgment. The change became effective Tuesday.
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Restaurant owners accused of harboring illegal immigrants, mail fraud

November 30, 2012
Dave Stafford
An Illinois couple has been indicted in federal court on charges that include harboring illegal immigrants at a restaurant they operate in northwestern Indiana.
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Latin Kings gang member, 2 others sentenced

November 29, 2012
IL Staff
A member of the Latin Kings street gang and two associates have been sentenced to prison for racketeering conspiracy and other crimes in support of the gang, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Indiana announced Thursday.
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Chapter 11 filing fee increases

November 26, 2012
IL Staff
The filing fee for a Chapter 11 case in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Indiana is now $1,213. The fee change went into effect Nov. 21.
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Five indicted on Medicaid fraud charges

November 9, 2012
Dave Stafford
Federal prosecutors this week indicted five people and three affiliated companies on charges of defrauding Medicaid of millions of dollars, according to the office of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana David Capp.
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Bankruptcy filings down across US, Indiana

November 8, 2012
IL Staff
Bankruptcy cases filed in federal courts for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30 were down 14 percent as compared to fiscal year 2011, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts announced Wednesday. Filings are down more than 11 percent in the Northern and Southern District courts of Indiana.
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Northern District taking comments on proposed rule changes

October 26, 2012
IL Staff
Revised rules for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, including a new section on local patent rules, are available for review and comment on the court’s website.
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Bankruptcy court seeks comment on local rules

October 15, 2012
IL Staff
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana is seeking public comment on proposed changes to Local Rule B-7056-1, Motions for Summary Judgment.
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Weinberger sentenced to 84 months in prison

October 12, 2012
Dave Stafford
A judge on Friday rejected former Merrillville "nose doctor" Mark Weinberger’s request to be released from federal prison for time served and instead ordered him to spend almost another four years behind bars for fraud.
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Martin selected as U.S. magistrate judge in Hammond

October 12, 2012
IL Staff
John E. Martin will succeed Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich in the Northern District of Indiana’s Hammond Division, the court announced. Rodovich is retiring from the bench.
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Weinberger seeks sentence of time served

October 8, 2012
Dave Stafford
Former Merrillville ear, nose and throat doctor Mark Weinberger on Monday asked a federal court to sentence him to time served for the 22 counts of health care fraud to which he pleaded guilty.
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Northwest Indiana officials indicted on federal charges

October 5, 2012
IL Staff
Six people in northwest Indiana, including three council members, were indicted Thursday on federal charges resulting from an investigation by the Northern District of Indiana’s Public Corruption Task Force.
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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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