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IU to use Conour funds to help fraud victims

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Now that former high-profile personal-injury attorney William Conour has pleaded guilty to accusations that he defrauded dozens of clients of more than $4.5 million, his victims hope for some measure of restitution.

At least a fraction of the loss will be covered by the law school to which Conour gave $450,000.

Dressed in faded black-and-white Marion County Jail scrubs and shackled at the wrists and ankles, Conour pleaded guilty Monday to a single count of wire fraud that could earn him a federal prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of as much as $250,000.

Victims include widows and children of people who were killed in workplace accidents, and the money involved came from settlements Conour won for them and was suppose to have held in trust.
 
Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana said Conour would be sentenced at 2 p.m. Oct. 17, at which time victims will be able to testify.

“I think quite a few of them are going to want to exercise their right to address the court,” federal prosecutor Jason Bohm told Young.

Conour admitted to the government’s stipulated facts, although he told Young, “I’m not sure the figures are accurate,” regarding the asserted loss of $4.5 million.

Conour’s alma mater Indiana University said in a statement it intends to use $450,000 that Conour gave the Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis to help compensate his victims. In a statement, IU President Michael A. McRobbie said he would recommend to the school’s board of trustees that Conour’s name be removed from the atrium of the law school.
 
“McKinney School Dean Andrew Klein announced his full support of this decision, as well as returning all of the funds received by the law school from Mr. Conour for the naming of the atrium to an appropriate fund for compensating the victims of Mr. Conour’s crimes,” the university said in a statement.

Conour asked the court in a filing July 3 to waive a trial that had been scheduled for Sept. 9. The change of plea was entered six days after a judge ordered him jailed for dissipating assets in violation of terms of bond.

The plea says Conour realizes, “I will have to pay restitution,” but it’s unclear where additional money to pay victims might come from. The court fund established for victim restitution last month contained about $21,000.

Conour said little on his own behalf during the short hearing on Monday. When Young asked if he had been treated for substance abuse or mental-health issues, Conour said he had received treatment for alcohol abuse and was taking a prescription antidepressant.

Conour described to Young how funds he received for settlements were used to pay his legal fees and used to pay other expenses when he or his firm encountered cash flow problems.

“I treated it more like a banking system,” he said.

He also admitted to accepting a $450,000 settlement for a client without his knowledge and converting the money to personal use. “I did not tell him,” Conour said when Young asked if he ever informed the client.
 

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  • Appropriate
    I applaud the actions of the IU School of Law in returning the ill-gotten monies donated by Mr. Conour. And, Mr. Conour, don't worry, people will remember your name for quite some time regardless of you losing the naming rights to the atrium. It's a shame our former Governor, Mr. Danies, did not feel any shred of decency by returning the ill-gotten monies gifted to him by Timothy Durham. Apparently, those individuals scammed by Mr. Durham don't count...

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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