IBJNews

Prosecutors seeking 14-month sentence for attorney Page

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence Indianapolis defense attorney Paul J. Page to 14 months in prison for his role in a real estate deal involving a state-leased office building in Elkhart.

Page pleaded guilty in January to a single count of wire fraud before the government tried his co-defendants, John M. Bales and William E. Spencer, at an eight-day jury trial in February that ended in an acquittal on all 13 counts.

The sentencing hearing for Page is scheduled for Monday morning in South Bend.

Prosecutors argue 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.

A strong sentence "would help deter other financial crimes," added Assistant U.S. Attorney Jesse M. Barrett.

But Page's attorney, Robert W. Hammerle, argues in his sentencing memorandum that U.S. District Court Judge Robert Miller Jr. should give Page probation. He notes that Page has accepted responsibility and apologized for his conduct, has no prior criminal record, and his crime did not result in losses by either Huntington Bank (the lender on the building) or the state of Indiana.

Page's felony conviction means he'll lose his license to practice law.

"This significant penalty alone places him in harsh contrast to the situation of his co-defendants, John Bales and William Spencer, who following a trial by jury were acquitted on all charges and are now free," Hammerle wrote.

Seven friends, family members, business associates and a priest wrote letters to the judge describing Page as a devoted husband and father to three children and an upstanding member of the community.

The original indictment against Page, Bales and Spencer carried 14 counts of wire, mail and bank fraud. The government agreed to drop all but one of the charges Page was facing, in exchange for his cooperation.

Page also agreed to forfeit the office building in Elkhart he has said he co-owned with former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.

Brizzi was also a target of the investigation that led to the indictments, but federal authorities in late October said they would not pursue charges against him, citing a lack of sufficient direct evidence he accepted bribes while in office.

During the trial in South Bend, federal prosecutors said Bales and Spencer provided a down payment so Page could buy a building in Elkhart to lease to the state's Department of Child Services, without disclosing Venture's involvement to the state.

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

But the defense said the arrangement amounted to a loan. Attorneys for Bales and Spencer argued there were no victims in the Elkhart deal, no loss and no intent to defraud: The state wound up leasing the building it wanted, and the bank loan on the property was current and paid.

The jury sided with the defense.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Come Again
    Can someone explain to me how Bales was not found guilty? I seriously don't get it. Was it a complete botch job by the prosecutors? If Page was guilty how were the others not?
  • seems like the honest one got the worse
    Everyone's parents told them to tell the truth and it would be better then lying no matter what the circumstances. Well mom, dad your wrong, and here is how. Seems Paul Page told the truth (At least far more then did Bales, Brizzi or Spencer). And the government who lost the other cases wants to hurt the one person to the fullest extent who told the truth. They say they want to make an example of him. Seems to me that Mr. Page may not be as well connected as the other three? I may be a bit passionate about how I feel about someone who I consider a friend being punished as he is. But just seems to me it's extreme and unfair. Everyone walking knows the others do not have clean hands on this deal and knew exactly what was happening the whole time.. But they got zip... So make an example of the one person who maybe wanted to plea as to not get a stiffer penalty. Or.... believe the only one who told the truth and find a more fitting penalty then the max. Like nothing else but loss of license. After all aren’t Bales and Brizzi attorneys too?? Time in prison does not seem fitting for this one - for sure.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

ADVERTISEMENT