Legal Issues and Fraud and Attorneys and Courts and Law

Ex-lawyer who admitted to fraud wants to keep fees

August 20, 2013

A former prominent Indianapolis lawyer who pleaded guilty in July to defrauding clients of $4.5 million wants to keep $2 million in legal fees he says were legitimately earned.

William Conour's attorney, Michael Donahoe, said Tuesday that the defense is still negotiating with authorities to what amount Conour is entitled.

"There seems to be a significant difference of opinion between the government and us," said Donahoe, who works for the U.S. public defender's office.

Donahoe said the government wants to count Conour's legal fees toward restoring clients' losses, while Conour believes he is entitled to legitimate legal fees and expenses.

Officials with the U.S. attorney's office in Urbana, Ill., which is prosecuting the case, did not answer phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment. Court proceeding are being conducted in federal court in Indianapolis.

Conour is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis on Oct. 17. The 66-year-old Conour could face up to 20 years in prison.

But August has been an active month for the case, particularly financial issues.

Court documents filed this month said Conour has agreed to let authorities auction off personal property from his foreclosed home in Carmel. Dozens of personal items are on the list, including art, nearly 50 bottles of vintage wine, a foosball table, and photos and collectibles of 19th-century celebrity Lillie Langtree.

Nearly $500,000 that Conour donated, including $45,000 he gave to Indiana University's law school, has been handed over to federal authorities to help reimburse his victims.

Also this month, a federal judge rejected Conour's request to be released to visit his doctors and prepare for at least a half-dozen lawsuits that have been filed against him before he is sentenced.

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