A federal judge Friday morning set a new trial date of Sept. 9 for a local high-profile lawyer accused of misappropriating $2.5 million in client funds.
William F. Conour, 65, appeared at the hearing at U.S. District Court in Indianapolis with his new counsel, federal public defender Michael Donahoe.
Judge Richard L. Young postponed Conour’s original trial date in October after lawyers Richard Kammen and Dorie Maryan withdrew from the case in September.
The two had represented Conour since May, about a month after federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against him. But their relationship soured to the point that the two asked to be removed from the case, per Conour’s request, according to court documents.
Young appointed the public defender to represent Conour after he told the judge that his only income is $2,000 in monthly Social Security checks and he faces foreclosure on his home.
The court previously had released $35,000 from Conour’s frozen accounts to allow him to retain new counsel. But Conour instead sought out a public defender and spent $15,000 on living expenses, he told the judge.
Young ordered him to return the remaining $20,000 within the next week after federal prosecutors argued that the money should be used for restitution to help repay alleged victims.
“Those funds were released, at least in my mind, to establish a retainer [for a lawyer],” Young told Conour. “Since that’s not going to be the case here, we’ll have that money returned to a trust account.”
According to a criminal complaint filed in April, 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. Prosecutors charge he kept clients’ settlement proceeds for his own use.
In July, Conour relinquished his law license to the Indiana bar.
Under Indiana law, he will have to wait five years if he wishes to petition for reinstatement to the bar.
Conour was admitted to the bar in 1974 and had no previous disciplinary history.
For years, he had been among the highest-profile attorneys in Indiana, representing individuals seriously injured or killed in construction accidents.