Attorney Gary E. Peel of the Lakin Law Firm has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of bankruptcy fraud, obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of child pornography.
The announcement was made Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.
Peel, 62, of Glen Carbon, and his ex-wife, Deborah J. Peel, of Maryville, have been embroiled in stalled divorce settlement proceedings since their 36-year marriage ended in 2003.
He filed bankruptcy on July 22, 2005, two weeks after a judge ordered Peel's second wife to appear for a deposition by his ex-wife.
The bankruptcy court has stayed the divorce proceedings.
On Feb. 6, Deborah J. Peel sought an order of protection against her ex-husband at a Madison County hearing before Associate Judge Nelson Metz. Ms. Peel testifed that Gary Peel stuck sexually explicit photos in her mailbox to prove he carried on with her 16-year-old sister 32 years ago.
According to Ms. Peel, Gary Peel offered to surrender the original photos if she would drop her demand for a deposition of his current wife, Deborah Pontious-Peel.
Deborah J. Peel told Metz her attorney called the U.S. Attorney and put her in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
She testified that at the direction of the FBI, she met Gary Peel at Hardee's restaurant in Glen Carbon with a tape recorder running in her purse.
She asked Metz for a protective order that would keep Gary Peel 100 feet away.
On Jan. 20, Peel filed a four-count civil complaint against his former wife, his son, The Madison/St. Clair Record and one of its reporters in Madison County Circuit Court alleging the newspaper published private facts.
On Nov. 21, 2005, the Record published an article, "Mermaid sculptures, $40k diamond--conveyances of love for bankrupt lawyer."
In the suit filed by Peel, he claims his ex-wife, Deborah J. Peel directly or through their son David, gave Record Reporter Steve Korris an "uncorrected" transcript of an examination of Peel conducted in his bankruptcy case on Nov. 16, 2005.
Bankruptcy fraud carries a maximum statutory penalty of up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to one year supervised release.
Obstruction of justice carries a maximum statutory penalty of up to 20 years' imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years' supervised release.
Possession of child pornography carries a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years' imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years' supervised release.
The indictment follows an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.