LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob “Z” Szilagyi has been suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court for forging the names of his ex-wife and secretary on a quitclaim deed on the former couple’s marital home.
The June 20 order says that Szilagyi, who became the prosecuting attorney in December 2010, sought to refinance the home, which he was awarded in his 2009 divorce. After the divorce, his ex-wife had her name restored to her name prior to the marriage. Szilagyi’s secretary prepared a quitclaim deed for the ex-wife to sign using her restored name instead of the married name as was on the title. The ex-wife signed it without it being notarized.
The day of closing, Szilagyi saw his ex-wife had signed her restored name, so he asked his secretary to prepare a new deed. He then signed without their knowledge his ex-wife’s married name and his secretary’s name as the notary, using her notary stamp. His secretary was investigated by the Indiana secretary of state as a result of the notarization.
According to the order, Szilagyi forged the signatures to avoid “an unpleasant conversation” with his former wife explaining that he needed her help. The parties also cited that Szilagyi – who has been practicing for more than 30 years – should have known how his actions can impugn the reputation of lawyers and the legal community.
The justices found Szilagyi violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; and 8.4(d), engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Szilagyi has no disciplinary history and is remorseful and accepted responsibility for his conduct.
The justices imposed a 60-day suspension, which begins Aug. 1, with automatic reinstatement. Costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.
Before becoming prosecutor, Szilagyi had a private practice in LaPorte County and also served as eight years as city attorney for LaPorte.