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Ex-lawyer accused of stealing $4.5M from clients is now represented by public defender

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Ex-lawyer accused of stealing $4.5M from clients is now represented by public defender

Jan 25, 2013, 01:48 pm CDT

A once-prominent personal injury attorney in Indiana is now represented by a public defender as he awaits trial in a federal wire fraud case in which he has been accused of stealing $4.5 million from 25 clients.

William F. Conour, 65, told a federal judge at a hearing Friday in Indianapolis that his only income is $2,000 a month from Social Security. Authorities say he misappropriated client funds in an operation dating back as far as 1999 that involved running his law firm in a manner akin to a Ponzi scheme, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. A previous Indiana Lawyer article provides additional details.

Meanwhile, Chief U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young said he was taking back the remaining $20,000 of the $35,000 he previously allocated to Conour from frozen accounts so he could get new counsel. Conour, who earlier voluntarily gave up his law license after he was criminally charged, told the judge he spent $15,000 on living expenses and got a public defender.

“Those funds were released, at least in my mind, to establish a retainer,” the judge told Conour. “Since that’s not going to be the case here, we’ll have that money returned to a trust account.”

Conour currently is scheduled to go to trial in September.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Lawyer Faces Wire Fraud Case; Feds Say He Used Client Funds to Cover Law Firm and Personal Expenses"

Golitko & Daly: "Bill Conour Goes to Jail: Requiem for a Heavy Weight"

Indiana Lawyer: "Conour's colleagues questioned behavior"

Indiana Lawyer: "Lawyers say Conour skipped workers' comp lien payments"

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