An Indianapolis attorney who pleaded guilty to public indecency last year after being accused of exposing himself to two busloads of high school girls basketball players is facing new charges of stealing more than $53,000 from a client.
Raymond Fairchild, 73, has been charged with theft as a Level 5 felony for allegedly taking $53,226.35 from the proceeds of a client’s litigation settlement, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry’s office said Tuesday. The funds had been awarded as part of a $100,000 wrongful death settlement for the loss of the client’s husband.
“The theft of property from an innocent victim is always intolerable,” Curry said in a written statement. “However, the relationship between an attorney and his client is one of trust, and it is thus particularly egregious if a professional, as alleged in this matter, abuses that trust for his own greed.”
According to the probable cause affidavit filed in Marion Superior Court, Fairchild was representing the client in two civil lawsuits—one suit against the driver of the vehicle that struck and killed her husband and the other suit against the employer of the driver.
In July 2015, the client settled the wrongful death suit against the driver for $100,000, the affidavit says. Fairchild then filed a petition to put $53,226.35 of the settlement into an account for the deceased’s daughter, and to pay $6,773.65 for funeral expenses and $40,000 for his attorney fees.
However, in September 2016, Fairchild was suspended from the practice of law for 180 days without automatic reinstatement for failure to act in a proposed medical malpractice complaint. He asked attorney Brent Jones to take over representation of the client in the second wrongful death lawsuit against the driver’s employer, according to the affidavit
A short time later, the client tried to deposit a $250 check from her husband’s closed bank account into the account Fairchild was supposed to have opened for her daughter, the affidavit says. But the credit union told her no account had ever been opened. When contacted, Fairchild told Jones the missing funds were safe, although he provided no documentation as to where the money was, according to the affidavit.
Jones then referred the client to Forrest Bowman to represent her in recovering the $53,226.35, the affidavit says. The client filed a complaint with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission in February 2019.
In March 2019, the second lawsuit was resolved for about $120,000, and Jones instructed Bowman to put the money into the restricted trust account for the daughter. About a month later, Fairchild started showing up at Jones’ office, and once at his home, asking for a percentage of the settlement, according to the affidavit.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department then subpoenaed the records from Fairchild’s business checking account. Police confirmed that Fairchild deposited the $100,000 settlement check in August 2015 and paid the funeral home in December 2015. But none of the other nearly 80 checks written between August 2015 and February 2016 were issued to the client, the daughter or the estate of the husband.
According to the affidavit, Fairchild failed to release any funds to the client, her daughter or the estate of the deceased. The client has confirmed she has not received any payment from Fairchild or any explanation as to what happened to the settlement funds.
The Indiana Roll of Attorneys lists Fairchild as being suspended and shows a handful of past disciplinary proceedings against him.
In September 2017, Fairchild faced six charges after he was accused of pulling his car alongside a Northern Wells Community School district bus carrying a girls basketball team while traveling on Interstate 70 near the Indianapolis International Airport and exposing his genitals.
Several students and an assistant coach posted the story and photos on Facebook. Seeing the entry on social media, a Union City girls basketball team came forward with a similar story and identified Fairchild as the man who had exposed himself to them.
Fairchild pleaded guilty Oct. 15, 2018, to two counts of public indecency and was sentenced to two years’ probation.