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Local attorney charged with defrauding clients of $2.5M

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An Indianapolis attorney has been charged with misappropriating more than $2 million from his clients.

William F. Conour, 64, turned himself in to federal authorities Friday morning and made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch in Indianapolis. He’s been charged with wire fraud based on an Oct. 6, 2011, transmission by wire communication through a fax from Indianapolis to Zurich American Insurance in New Jersey.

According to the criminal complaint, Conour is accused of engaging in a scheme from December 2000 to March 2012 to defraud his clients, using money obtained from new settlement funds to pay for old settlements and debts. He allegedly kept most of his clients’ settlement proceeds for his own use. In one case, Conour didn’t tell a client that a settlement had been accepted, and Conour accepted the money on the client’s behalf. That client has not received any of the settlement proceeds.

The Indianapolis Division of the FBI received information July 2011 that Conour may be misappropriating his clients’ funds through the creation of trust accounts with an Ohio bank. According to the complaint, he has at least 14 client trusts with this bank. Conour did not deposit all the settlement funds with the bank, and instead funded the trusts on a yearly basis with funds only sufficient enough to enable the bank to issue monthly checks to the clients for a year.

Conour, who focuses his practice on construction liability cases involving serious injury and death, has practiced law under firm names including Conour Law Firm; Conour Daly; Conour Doehrman; Conour Devereux; and Conour Devereux Hammond.

He was released on his own recognizance with conditions, including that he can’t sell, transfer, encumber or otherwise dispose of his personal or business assets without court approval. If convicted, Conour faces up to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

According to the Indiana Roll of Attorneys, he was admitted in 1974 and has no disciplinary history.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has been recused in the matter. The U.S. Attorney General appointed the Central District of Illinois to handle the prosecution.

Anyone who is believed to be a victim of the alleged criminal conduct of Conour is encouraged to contact the FBI at 1-877-542-8979.

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