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Judge sentences attorney Page to probation, fine

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SOUTH BEND—Attorney and real estate developer Paul J. Page will serve two years of probation and pay a $10,000 fine for concealing the source of a $362,000 down payment on his purchase of a state-leased office building in Elkhart.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Miller Jr. issued the sentence at a Monday morning hearing in South Bend.

Federal prosecutors had argued Page, 49, should serve a 14-month prison sentence for a wire fraud count. Page pleaded guilty in January before the government tried co-defendants, John M. Bales and William E. Spencer, at an eight-day jury trial in February that ended in acquittal on all 13 counts for the pair.

The judge scoffed at the government's sentencing request for Page, noting the crime resulted in no losses to either the lender or the state. He said Page, a father of three without a criminal record, does not pose a danger of offending again.

Page spoke briefly during the hearing, after taking a few moments to compose himself.

"Hopefully a man is not defined by one action," he said, before turning away from the judge to thank a courtroom full of friends and family members.

Page declined to talk after the sentencing hearing, but his attorney Robert W. Hammerle described the ruling as "utter relief." Hammerle described the offense as an "isolated technical violation" that is actually quite common.

The judge seemed to agree, noting that he hadn't seen "many or any" cases with "less aggravating circumstances."

Prosecutors had argued in a sentencing memorandum that Page should be sentenced at the high end of guidelines, calling for a range of 8 to 14 months, since as an attorney he should have "known better" than to conceal the source of his down payment for the Elkhart building. The down payment came from Bales, who also brokered the lease deal with the state to use the building.

The government said the deal violated an agreement between Bales' firm, Venture Cos., and the state that barred the company from direct or indirect ownership of properties where state agencies leased space.

Hammerle noted that the state's Department of Child Services renewed its lease deal for the building since federal prosecutors filed their case against Bales, Page and Spencer, and are happy with the space.

Before issuing the sentence, Judge Miller said he determined the crime did not fit the sentencing guidelines established in Page's plea agreement. He removed a few sentencing enhancements from the calculation, resulting in a recommended prison sentence between 0 and 6 months.

Still, the felony conviction means Page likely will lose his license to practice law. That would be up to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

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  • Anonymous haters
    It is shame how people can anonymously spread their hatred. Your ire would be better spent raging against the government and the media who attempt to ruin people everyday for their own agenda.
  • Dirty Lawyer
    Paul Page is a felon and miserable human being. He deserves far worse than this. Far worse. It's a total sham if he doesn't lose his law license.
    • Page
      "Still, the felony conviction means Page likely will lose his license to practice law. That would be up to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission." Not, it's up to the Supreme Court, not the Disciplinary Commission. The DC is the body that prosecutes. It's the Supreme Court that decides the discipline. Nonethless, I don't know why the writer would say this. There are felons in Indiana who have never been charged by the Commission. Page's conviction is now 11 months old and the Commission has never charged him and never charged Wyser who also pled guilty to a felony.
    • Class
      The Page family has more class than anyone I know, Paul was a scape goat. If any church or family needs help the pages are always there. They want nothing in return! This is fact ask any one at holy rosary church
    • Brizzi slides by again . . .
      Still wondering how the one who really should have gotten nailed on this, Carl Brizzi, walked away unscathed. By comparison, Paul Page is an angel and, in most cases, wouldn't even have been charged. Hoping he gets to keep his law license. At least he's owned his behavior and is contrite, something the arrogant Mr. Brizzi is far from being. Maybe one of the other skeletons in Brizzi's closet will rattle loose sometime. Carl Brizzi is genuinely talented; it's unfortunate he chose to be corrupt/greedy.
    • most innocent of the 4
      The one who is least guilty and more accountable of the 4 got justice. Nothing more and certainly nothing less in comparison of the whole group. I’m happy!
    • Slap on the wrist
      Not happy when attorneys offend and get probation. That is a criminal act in itself.

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