Decatur lawyer sentenced to jail for forgery, counterfeiting

A suspended northern Indiana lawyer was sentenced Friday to nearly nine months in jail for forging a judge’s signature on a phony divorce order and sending a client a bogus email that she represented as coming from a deputy prosecutor.

Jill Holtzclaw of Decatur was sentenced to serve 270 days behind bars followed by a year of probation for her convictions of Level 6 felony counts of forgery and counterfeiting, according to the Adams County prosecutor’s office.

The sentence was imposed in Adams Superior Court in Decatur, the culmination of a criminal case that led to multiple orders from the Indiana Supreme Court suspending Holtzclaw from the practice of law.

Holtzclaw pleaded guilty in December, and her plea agreement provided a maximum of one year in jail on the forgery conviction and up to 270 days on the counterfeiting charge. The charges were uncovered in separate police investigations.

Holtzclaw was suspended from the practice of law in June for noncooperation with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission’s investigation of a grievance against her. She had been criminally charged in February, after investigators alleged Holtzclaw:

• Forged Adams Circuit Judge Chad Kukelhan’s signature on a divorce decree that bore no cause number and was found to be fraudulent, and;

• Counterfeited an email to the widow of one of Holtzclaw’s clients who sought to expunge his criminal record. The email purported to be sent from Huntington County deputy prosecutor Jennifer Pyclik.

The Indiana Supreme Court has hit Holtzclaw with five orders of suspension this year in five separate disciplinary cases, most recently in December. Four of those suspensions remain active. The disciplinary commission has not made public the nature of the complaints against Holtzclaw in the other cases in which she has been suspended.

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