Government: Tweak Conour release conditions

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Special conditions imposed on convicted fraudster and former attorney William Conour after he serves a 10-year federal sentence should be modified, but the conditions largely should stay in place, according to the government’s brief in his appeal.

In response to Conour’s appeal petition, the U.S. Attorney agreed that a special release condition permitting suspicionless searches of Conour and his property should be vacated in light of 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rulings on that condition after Conour was sentenced in October 2013.

Likewise, the government’s appeal brief asserts that a condition that Conour not consume “excessive” amounts of alcohol should be restated to simply say he should consume no alcohol upon release, because he was diagnosed as an alcoholic and sought treatment. This also conforms with 7th Circuit holdings that the term is ambiguous.

Otherwise, the government says the conditions placed on Conour are just and that the 7th Circuit should affirm the sentence imposed by Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Conour was convicted of stealing more than $6.5 million from more than 30 of his personal-injury and wrongful-death clients over the course of many years until the FBI began investigating in 2011. Conour assured clients their settlement proceeds were invested in trusts that would be distributed much like an annuity.

“In reality,” the government’s brief says, “Mr. Conour operated a Ponzi scheme. He deposited only enough money into a trust for the first year of payments and kept the rest of the money. … He funded subsequent years, one year at a time, through the settlement proceeds of other clients. … This scheme allowed Mr. Conour to live an extravagant lifestyle with multiple homes, luxury cars, and worldwide vacations.  

“(I)n light of Mr. Conour’s offense, history, and characteristics, (release) conditions were either completely harmless or rationally related to the statutory purposes of supervision,” the brief says.

The government also argues that Conour wasn’t prejudiced when the court allowed his public defenders to withdraw after sentencing while victim restitution was being determined.

“Mr. Conour’s requested relief further demonstrates the lack of prejudice. He requests remand 'for further proceedings' … but gives no suggestion what those further proceedings would be. There is no challenge to Mr. Conour’s guilt, no challenge … to the imposed sentence, and no challenge to the restitution amounts. As a result, a remand is unnecessary,” the government appeal brief says.


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