Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The Illinois Administrator has filed an amended complaint in a matter involving a criminal conviction in federal court.
The amended complaint alleges:
In 1974, Respondent took sexually explicit pictures of the 16 year-old sister, D.R., of his then-wife, Debra Peel. Respondent retained the pictures until 2006. In November 2003, Respondent and Debra obtained a dissolution of their marriage, which judgment included property division provisions. In July 2005, Respondent filed for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Illinois, case no. 05-33238. In the bankruptcy case, Respondent sought to discharge certain obligations to Debra, under the judgment of dissolution of their marriage, and listed Debra as a creditor. Debra filed an objection in the bankruptcy case to Respondent’s attempt to discharge his financial obligations to her. In January 2006, Respondent called Debra on the telephone, represented that he had had a sexual relationship with D.R., and further informed Debra that he had taken sexually explicit photographs of D.R. Respondent informed Debra if she did not abandon her challenge in the bankruptcy case and agree to a new financial settlement in their dissolution of marriage case, he would mail the pictures of D.R. to Debra’s parents. Later in 2006, the Federal Bureau of Investigations retrieved copies of the pictures of D.R. from Respondent’s office.
On March 22, 2006, a federal grand jury, sitting in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, returned a four-count criminal indictment against Respondent, arising from his conduct as alleged in Paragraph 1, above. Count One of the indictment charged that Respondent engaged in bankruptcy fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 152(6). Count Two of the indictment charged Respondent with obstruction of justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(c)(2). Counts Three and Four of the indictment charged Respondent with possession of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252A(a)(5)(B). A copy of the indictment is attached as Exhibit 1.
On March 23, 2007, a jury convicted Respondent of all four counts of the indictment.
On November 19, 2007, Respondent was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. On February 12, 2010, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to the District Court with directions that the district judge vacate either the bankruptcy fraud conviction or the obstruction of justice conviction, and to resentence Respondent. On August 1, 2011, the District Court vacated the conviction for obstructing justice and resentenced Respondent to the same prison sentence as previously imposed, 14 years. A copy of the Amended Judgment is attached as Exhibit 2. On February 6, 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction.
The charged attorney has another distinction - he is one of a very few attorneys who was found to have engaged in an ethics violation by a state high court who prevailed in the United States Supreme Court. The case involved the permissible use of a certified specialist designation.