LAPORTE | LaPorte County Prosecutor Robert Szilagyi will have his license to practice law suspended for 60 days for acts of forgery on documents stemming from a divorce.
The Indiana Supreme Court approved a settlement June 20 negotiated by Szilagyi's attorney and the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.
The commission recommended unspecified disciplinary action in late April against Szilagyi for forging the signature of his now ex-wife and a notary on documents related to a property division in a divorce finalized in 2009.
According to a complaint filed with the court, his ex-wife received a quit claim deed to transfer the marital home solely to Szilagyi but signed it under her restored last name instead of her married name as reflected on the title.
She also failed to notarize the deed when she returned the document to Szilagyi's office.
The complaint alleges Szilagyi -- on the day of closing on the property transfer and refinancing -- discovered the mistakes and had his secretary draft a new deed.
Without contacting his ex-wife or his secretary, it's alleged Szilagyi signed the name on the new deed and used his secretary's notary stamp on the deed.
It also alleged Szilagyi also signed his secretary's name as notary on the deed without her permission or authority.
The complaint alleges Szilagyi submitted the new deed to the title company at closing.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said Szilagyi's misconduct stemmed from a desire to avoid an unpleasant conversation with his former wife about the need for her assistance.
The high court stated Szilagyi should have known the importance of authentic legal documents and how his actions can damage the reputation of lawyers and the integrity of the legal system.
Szilagyi's attorney, Kevin McGoff of Indianapolis, said the suspension goes into effect Aug. 1 and prohibits his client from practicing law in any sort of way -- even as prosecutor.
McGoff said his client will resume his duties as prosecutor after the suspension is served.
McGoff said the asset division under terms of the marital break up was ordered by a judge and his client's actions were influenced by a "bitter divorce."
"There was no element of him getting any more than what he was already awarded," McGoff said, who added the misconduct had nothing to do with his role as prosecutor.