INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A great-nephew of John Dillinger who for years has fought to protect and clear the infamous bank robber’s name is being investigated for theft.
Attorney Jeffery Scalf of Mooresville, Indiana, has given up his law license amid an investigation into two criminal theft charges. He’s accused of stealing from a flea market in 2012 and from a Wal-Mart last year.
Neither case involved items of great value, nor items related to Scalf’s great-uncle, according to Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega.
“He’s a colorful figure,” the prosecutor said. “It is a sad story.”
The charges could be dropped if Scalf successfully completes the court’s diversion program that works with defendants who struggled with mental health and other issues, Sonnega said.
Scalf told The Indianapolis Star in a phone interview that he takes responsibility for his actions, but that there was “a great deal of mitigating circumstance that entail serious health issues.”
Scalf voluntarily submitted his resignation when it became apparent to him that he could no longer practice law, he said. His resignation was accepted in mid-February by the Indiana Supreme Court.
“I feel ashamed, embarrassed, and I am sincerely remorseful,” he said. “I am doing my best to get better. All I can do is ask for people’s forgiveness.”
Scalf has been working for about 20 years to repair Dillinger’s reputation and to contest claims that Dillinger was involved in a heist that resulted in the death of an East Chicago police officer.
Scalf founded Dillinger LLC to prevent the unlicensed and negative use of Dillinger’s likeness and name. He also helped start the John Dillinger Troubled Youth Fund in July 2009, 75 years after Dillinger’s death, with an initial donation of about $7,000.
Scalf’s grandmother, Doris, was Dillinger’s half-sister. She also has served as the keeper of the John Dillinger estate.
Dillinger was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Mooresville. He was fatally shot by FBI agents outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago on July 22, 1934.
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