Prosecution wants 20-year sentence for Conour, now accused of stealing nearly $7 million

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Citing his lack of remorse for the theft of nearly $7 million from clients over the years, federal prosecutors want former wrongful-death and personal-injury attorney William Conour sentenced to the maximum term of 20 years Thursday, according to a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday.

Conour “stole nearly $7 million … from his clients to finance his lavish lifestyle,” the government says. Previously, Conour had been accused of defrauding more than 25 clients of at least $4.5 million.

The federal government says Conour should be sentenced Thursday to the maximum term of 20 years in prison and that seven of his victims should have the opportunity to offer victim-impact statements.

“He has never shown remorse for his actions nor truly accepted responsibility for his conduct,” the government says. Factors including the vulnerability of victims, number of victims and Conour’s deception of the court support imposing the maximum penalty, according to the filing.

Michael Donahoe, Conour’s court-appointed public defender, could not be immediately reached for comment.

“The scheme began by at least 2008 and continued until at least 2012. ... Thus, through the use of the trust accounts and settlement agreements, the defendant was able to execute his scheme and avoid detection for four years while he defrauded 36 victims of almost $7 million,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Bohm wrote in the memorandum.

Conour is scheduled to be sentenced at 2 p.m. Thursday by Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. While Young hasn’t acted on the request to allow victim statements, he previously indicated in court that he would be inclined to let victims have their say.

Conour pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud in July, days after Young ordered Conour’s bond revoked for dissipating assets without court approval. Conour has been in the Marion County Jail since.

Tuesday’s filing characterizes a few of his victims. “A man, paralyzed as the result of his accident, now requires state aid for medical treatment rather than money he should have received. A woman died indigent in a nursing home, while more than $200,000 sat in a 'trust' account for her benefit. A mother and her children struggle to get by after their husband and father’s death. The money that should have supported them and paid for college is gone. Some funds have been recovered for these victims. It is unlikely, however, that they will be made whole.”

To date, about $500,000 has been contributed to a court fund for restitution. That includes $450,000 from Indiana University, which returned a contribution for the naming of the former William and Jennifer Conour Atrium at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, as well as $30,000 from the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association.

One of Conour’s daughters, identified in court papers as A.K., also this week received court approval to donate $20,000 to the court fund. The fund also will be supplemented with the post-sentencing sale of Conour’s assets — mainly home furnishings, art and home furnishings.
The prosecution’s sentencing memorandum says Conour presented himself in promotional videos for his former law firm as a professional and ethical attorney dedicated to helping clients, but who in reality was stealing from those victims to feed a lifestyle of Bentley, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche automobiles, mansions and horse farms.

“Rather than serving his clients, the defendant understood the legal system and consistently exploited it to his advantage,” the sentencing memorandum says. “His clients were largely naïve to the legal system and relied on the defendant to navigate the system for them. They also relied on the settlements of their claims for compensation to replace either their inability to work or the permanent loss of a wage earner.

“In exchange for ‘his services,’ the defendant generally took 40 percent of the settlement in attorney’s fees. For the 36 identified victims in this case, the defendant was paid nearly $3.5 million dollars in attorney’s fees and nearly $100,000 in expenses. The defendant, however, stole another $6.7 million from his clients through the use of false annuities, fraudulent trusts, and general deception. He used that money to further his lavish lifestyle and to pay other clients for previous settlements, similar to a Ponzi-scheme.”

The sophistication of the scheme and Conour’s violation of a court order support an enhanced sentence, the government argues in objecting to the confidential presentence investigative report prepared by the federal probation department.

“In this case, the defendant’s complex and intricate use of trust accounts and structured settlements demonstrates that his scheme involved more planning and concealment than a typical fraud. As part of the scheme, the defendant created at least 14 separate trust accounts with an Ohio financial institution, even though his personal injury practice was located in Indiana,” according to the government.

“When he negotiated settlements on behalf of his personal injury clients, he convinced many of those clients to accept a structured settlement rather than a lump-sum settlement. The use of the trust accounts and the structured settlements allowed the defendant both to execute his scheme and to avoid detection.

“More specifically, it allowed him to execute his scheme based on the trust agreement that he had negotiated with the Ohio financial institution. The agreement allowed him to fund the trusts on a yearly basis with funds only sufficient to enable the financial institution to issue monthly checks for a year, thereby allowing the defendant to illegally retain the bulk of the settlements for his own purposes,” the sentencing memorandum says.  

The filing notes that Conour told the court that the failure to pay clients was a cash flow problem. “The truth, however, is that the defendant did not steal his clients’ money because of cash flow problems or business expenses. He stole it to fill his wine cellar with Dom Perignon and Cristal. He stole it to take trips around the world. He stole it to enrich himself.”



  • My license to satire
    John, yep, me and Lenny Bruce. No awards
  • LOLs
    Bryan, for jokes like that you would lose your license as a comedian, too!
  • Credit where credit is due
    Sara, it is good that the proper authorities were on their toes, else Conour might have gotten away with it his entire life instead of a mere dozen or so years.
  • What?
    William Conours scheme started at least as early as 1998 or 1999 when he settled the case for my son! And my son is a victim; I surely hope we have the chance to speak because he needs to hear how his selfish ways effected the victims!
  • Say I say I say boy
    “That’s a joke, I say that’s a joke son” (Almost satire that is, satire, son)
  • On the bright side
    I think I speak for all of the leading judicial bureacrats in Indy when I say THANK ZEUS attorney Conour was not so evil as to file a motion to recuse a judge or so craven as to send a private letter criticizing a judge. At least he does have that going for him as to mitigation.

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    1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

    2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

    3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

    4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

    5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues