Supreme Court disbars former clerk-treasurer who stole town funds

September 1, 2016

Even though the attorney who stole town funds while serving as elected clerk-treasurer of the town of Warren Park in Marion County has attempted to address his gambling addiction that caused the theft, the Indiana Supreme Court disbarred the attorney based on his misconduct.

Harold E. Bean wrote himself checks with town funds over the course of several months in 2014, stealing $20,800 from the town on the east side of Marion County. He was charged with Class D felonies theft and official misconduct, to which he pleaded guilty and was suspended last year by the Supreme Court.

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission charged him with violating Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(b) by committing criminal acts that reflect adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer. The hearing officer in the matter recommended Bean be disbarred.

The per curiam opinion notes that criminal action and misconduct by an attorney in public office have consistently resulted in disbarment, or a substantial period of suspension without automatic reinstatement.

“We acknowledge Respondent’s acceptance of responsibility, his efforts to address the ongoing gambling addiction underlying his misconduct, and his impassioned plea during proceedings before the hearing officer for a sanction short of disbarment. However, the seriousness of Respondent’s misconduct, and Respondent’s history of attorney and judicial discipline (the latter of which, significantly, also included willful misconduct in office), compel us to agree with the hearing officer that disbarment is warranted in this case,” the justices wrote.

Bean, who was admitted in 1974 and has a law office on the east side of Indianapolis, has been disciplined twice prior, in 2001 and 1998.

The costs of the proceedings are assessed against Bean.

The case is In the Matter of: Harold E. Bean, 49S00-1601-DI-2.