TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

August 31, 2009

Suspended attorney found dead before trial

Used by permission of The Times of Northwest Indiana

The son of London attorney William Gary Crabtree was found dead at his home in Dyer, Ind., Monday morning.

William Crabtree II, 46, a Laurel County native, was found hours before he was scheduled to stand trial on charges he embezzled millions of dollars from his clients between 2006 and 2008.

Lake County, Ind. Coroner David Pastrick said Crabtree’s death was not a homicide, and the cause of death remained under investigation. Dyer police called coroner’s office investigators to Crabtree’s home at 4:30 a.m. Monday, Pastrick said. Dyer police were called from inside the house about 4 a.m., Dyer Detective Cmdr. Ken Croft said.

Crabtree was a private civil lawyer in Schererville, Ind. until he was indicted in October on federal fraud charges accusing him of altering checks and faking contracts to misappropriate at least $2.2 million. The Indiana Supreme Court’s disciplinary commission moved to suspend Crabtree’s law license, but Crabtree ended that process when he resigned from the bar in January.

Crabtree’s case appeared headed for a jury trial starting Monday morning in federal court. Jury selection was slated for 8:30 a.m. before Senior Judge Rudy Lozano, but jurors had been sent home by 9 a.m.

Crabtree’s lawyer, Clark Holesinger, filed a motion Monday afternoon to continue the case while “final issues are resolved.”

Friends, neighbors and relatives gathered Monday afternoon at Crabtree’s huge home near a wealthy subdivision’s golf course. People at the home gave no statement.

Neighbor Paul Levin said word of Crabtree’s death moved swiftly Monday. Levin called Crabtree’s death “pretty shocking.”

“He was a nice guy,” Levin said.

Crabtree’s recent defense attorneys voiced surprise at his death.

“My heart goes out to the family,” Holesinger said.

“He seemed like a fine man, and I’m real disappointed,” said Kevin Milner, who represented Crabtree before Holesinger.

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