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Conour bond revoked, denied funds to file bankruptcy

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William Conour, a former leading personal-injury attorney, was led from federal court in handcuffs Thursday after a judge said Conour had misled the court and dissipated assets in violation of bond conditions ahead of his trial on a wire fraud charge.

Conour was escorted from the courtroom of Chief Judge Richard Young of the Southern District of Indiana after Young granted the government’s motion to revoke bond for burning through tens of thousands of dollars without court approval.

“I just don’t believe Mr. Conour is taking seriously the court order here,” Young said. “I have real concerns that if there are other assets out there that Mr. Conour may dissipate those assets as well.”

As Conour was led from the courtroom, some of his family members wept and some of his alleged victims embraced in restrained celebration. Authorities said Conour will be held in a federal detention unit of the Marion County Jail ahead of his trial scheduled for Sept. 9.

Conour is accused of defrauding 25 or more clients of at least $4.5 million. He faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000.

Young’s decision to revoke bond came after an unusual hearing in which now-retired federal prosecutor Richard Cox was called to testify about agreements that Conour represented had been made with Cox. Conour said an informal arrangement existed with Cox allowing him to use proceeds from art sales and other assets to pay living expenses.

But Cox testified that the government viewed any assets as those that could be used for restitution, and it was up to Conour, not the government, to ensure conditions of bond were met.

Cox said he had been put in the uncomfortable position of prosecuting Conour while also controlling purse strings from the court fund after Conour began to represent himself late last year. The court registry was established for potential victim restitution and for Conour’s legal defense and expenses.

Conour public defender Michael Donahoe grilled the former prosecutor about the proceeds of art sales the government was aware of and for which Conour received the proceeds.

“On no occasion did you ever discuss with (Conour) how that money should be divided,” Donahoe said. “That’s correct,” Cox said.

Donahoe argued in a filing Thursday responding to the government’s revocation bid that prosecutors were stretching honest disagreements over prior arrangements into allegations of perjury.

“Mr. Conour has done nothing that even approaches the commission of a new crime while on pretrial release. Considering the loose, informal spirit of cooperation and trust that characterized the prior pattern of defining and paying for living expenses, the government has not shown, by clear and convincing evidence, that a specific condition has been knowingly violated.”

“It would have been easy for Mr. Cox to say this money needs to go in the court registry,” Donahoe told Young, referring to art sales made while Conour represented himself late last year. But Young said there was no burden on the government to ensure Conour complied with conditions of his bond.

“The point is, he wasn’t supposed to dissipate assets,” assistant U.S. attorney Jason Bohm told Young. “There is clear and convincing evidence he violated terms of his bond.”

Young also referenced Conour’s divorce, initiated by his ex-wife, Jennifer Conour, days after Conour was charged in April 2012. The two signed an uncontested settlement in December.

Young said he said he had serious doubt about whether a judge in Kosciusko County would have signed the dissolution order if he had knowledge of Conour’s wire fraud case, and noted the federal court was never informed of the divorce.

“It’s clear to me what was going on,” Young said, calling the proceeding “a way to transfer a significant amount of assets.”

Meanwhile, Conour also was denied a motion filed this week asking the court to release the remaining $21,000 from the court registry so that he could declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The firm of Tucker Hester Baker & Krebs LLC filed the request Tuesday. Under the proposal, Conour would have used money from the fund to hire bankruptcy lawyers to pursue claims “against other parties holding money which are attorney’s fees due him on cases in which he provided legal services,” according to the filing.

Young appeared mystified by the request. “He wants me to take the little money left in the registry here … and give it to attorneys for attorney’s fees?”

Donahoe said using the money to hire bankruptcy counsel would allow Conour to collect fees he claims he’s owed by other attorneys who took his personal injury cases after he was arrested, and would be a good deal for alleged victims.

“I don’t know that the alleged victims would think that’s a good thing to do,” Young said.

Donahoe claimed Conour was owed a share of at least $2 million in settlement fees to which attorneys “admit” Conour was entitled. When Young pressed, Donahoe said, “I’ve been told that by Mr. Conour,” and that no such admission existed in writing.

“I’m not going to grant this motion to remove what’s left in the victims’ fund, no,” Young said. He said he would consider appointing a special master to handle claims if Conour is convicted.

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  • In summation
    Matthew 23:25
  • About time
    It's about time he's where he belongs. He's taken advantage of people and their trust along with abusing and making a mockery of the system for too long...

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  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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