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Attorney facing theft charges resigns from bar

December 20, 2017

A Chicago-based lawyer with a practice in Gary has resigned from the Indiana bar as an ongoing criminal investigation against her continues.

The Indiana Supreme Court accepted Ruth Ann Batey’s resignation from the bar on Tuesday, roughly six months after Batey was arrested and charged with Level 5 felony theft. In a news release last June, the Indiana State Police said they opened an investigation into Batey in January on the request of the Gary Police Department.

Batey had been hired to represent Shane and Robin Bolde, two Gary police officers who signed a power of attorney for Batey to represent them in their personal injury case. When two checks for $80,000 and $8,750 were written to the couple, Batey signed and deposited them into her IOLTA account without informing the Boldes the money had been paid out to them.

That conduct prompted Batey’s arrest, and according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, an omnibus hearing is set for Jan. 16 before Judge Samuel L. Cappas in the Lake Superior Court in Crown Point.

As the criminal case against Batey was unfolding, the northern Indiana attorney was simultaneously facing a disciplinary complaint for similar conduct related to another client.

As with the Boldes, Michael Dawson hired Batey to represent him in a personal injury case and was awarded partial medical expenses totaling $1,036. Batey deposited the funds into her trust account and eventually disbursed the funds to Dawson after his new attorney filed a request for an Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission investigation against her.

However, according to the disciplinary complaint, the money used to disburse Dawson’s settlement may have represented a co-mingling of Batey’s personal and professional funds. Further, when the commission began investigating the trust, the complaint also alleges Batey misrepresented the status of the investigation to JP Morgan Chase Bank, which held her trust, so that it would not supply subpoenaed records.

In all, Batey was alleged to have violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.4(a)(4), 1.15(a) and (d), 8.4(c) and (d), and Admission and Discipline Rule 23, Sections 29(a)(4) and (5). Her resignation on Tuesday represents “an acknowledgement that there is presently pending an investigation into or a proceeding involving allegations of misconduct and that (Batey) could not successfully defender herself if prosecuted.”

Batey’s resignation marks the end of the disciplinary proceedings against her. She can petition for reinstatement in five years, but only if she can prove by clear and convincing evidence that she is remorseful, rehabilitated and fit to practice law.

The costs of the proceeding are assessed against her.

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