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NAMES IN THE NEWS : Publisher Admits Client Rip-Off

FROM TIMES WIRE SERVICES

A guilty conscience prompted an Indianapolis publisher to admit his crime in an article in the suburban weekly newspaper he runs.

Jack L. Atwell, publisher of the Franklin Township Southeast Examiner for the past two years, admitted Tuesday that he took more than $6,300 from a client who had paid him to buy a life insurance policy when he was an insurance agent seven years ago.

“In March, 1983, thinking I was in a desperate situation, I committed a deed that was inexcusable, wrong morally, wrong legally and certainly wrong before God . . . , " Atwell wrote in the article that covered five columns.

He asked the newspaper’s 3,000 subscribers for their forgiveness and support and said the paper will “continue to publish the news, regardless of who makes the news.”

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Atwell, 49, said he contacted the insurance client, who was shocked but agreed to accept restitution and not to prosecute. But the victim apparently changed his mind and took Atwell’s written statement to the Hancock County prosecutor.

Atwell will plead guilty to a felony theft charge July 5. The plea agreement calls for Atwell to surrender his license to sell insurance and to pay a $2,500 fine. It also calls for a suspended 18-month jail term.


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