Legal Issues and Fraud and Attorneys and Courts and U.S. District Court and Law

Assets of attorney in fraud case have gone missing, feds say

May 3, 2013

About half the property that federal agents inventoried after former personal injury attorney William Conour was charged with wire fraud is missing from his home, and just 13 of 78 items at his former law office are still there, according to new government filings in his federal criminal case.

Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ordered the new inventory last month during a hearing at which a federal prosecutor sought to revoke Conour’s bond. Young is still considering that request, and the government in Thursday’s filing argued anew that Conour has violated his bond conditions.

conour-bill-mugWilliam Conour

Conour was charged in April 2012 with defrauding more than 25 clients of at least $4.5 million. He was ordered after his arrest not to dissipate property that had been inventoried, and he is currently receiving the assistance of a public defender.

A revised inventory filed with the court Thursday shows 83 of 165 pieces itemized at Conour’s Carmel home could not be located. The missing items include about 30 pieces of art, furniture, five televisions, a variety of sports memorabilia and other miscellaneous items of value.

Agents also noted that more than a dozen previously inventoried bottles of alcohol – including four bottles of Louis Roderer Cristal Champagne with a retail value of $200 or more per bottle – were no longer in his home. The earlier inventory counted 80 bottles of 32 varieties of wine, champagne, liqueur and Scotch.

However, the government in its most recent inventory did make a fresh discovery of previously unknown assets. “Agents located another cache of alcohol in the defendant’s pool house, which is now listed at the end of the inventory,” according to Thursday’s filing.

 There, the government reported 215 bottles of 48 varieties of wine, according to the inventory.

Last month, Young also asked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Bohm to provide an affidavit from former federal prosecutor Richard Cox, Bohm’s predecessor on the case who recently retired. Cox addressed Conour’s allegation in an affidavit last month that the government had agreed to defer filing criminal charges against him for several months to allow him to retire and collect legal fees from pending personal injury cases that could be used to compensate victims.

Bohm last month denied such a deal existed and entered a statement from Conour’s former attorney, Jim Voyles, denying any such agreement had been reached.

In his affidavit filed with the court Thursday, Cox recalled the April 2012 meeting with Conour, Voyles, FBI and state police representatives and others at which Conour alleged the government had agreed to wait several months before charging him.

“While Mr. Conour desired that any possible charges be deferred until June, 2012, there was no agreement about deferring the charges,” Cox wrote.

When Conour was charged in a criminal complaint and appeared before Southern District Magistrate Judge Debra M. Lynch, “Judge Lynch entered an order setting the bond conditions, including a condition that the defendant not transfer, sell, encumber, or otherwise dispose of any of his personal or business assets or property without court approval,” Cox stated in the affidavit.

The items missing from Conour’s former law office are categorized as seized by creditors, but it’s unclear what happened to the assets dissipated from the home. The inventory lists several items that Conour had admitted to the court he no longer had as well as additional items investigators failed to locate.

Last month’s hearing came after Conour requested $10,000 for living expenses from a court fund, a motion that he later withdrew. But the government insisted the hearing go forward, at which time Bohm asked Young to revoke bond.

Conour’s trial is scheduled for Sept. 9.

This story originally appeared in IBJ's sister publication The Indiana Lawyer.
 

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