Decatur attorney charged with felony forgery

Jannaya Andrews


Decatur Daily Democrat

    A Decatur attorney is facing felony charges following an investigation by the Adams County Sheriff's Department. 

    According to a probable cause affidavit released Wednesday by Adams County Prosecutor Jeremy Brown, attorney Jill Holtzclaw is charged with forgery, a Level 6 felony, after allegedly failing to file a decree of dissolution of marriage in the case of Sara Ford and Zebediah Ford, then forging a judge’s signature on a court document.

    Court records indicate sheriff's department detective Gary Burkhart was contacted and was asked to look into a situation involving the court document, which had supposedly came out of Adams County Circuit Court.

    The document was dated Sept. 15, 2017, and was reportedly the final order from the courts regarding the dissolution of marriage. The document appeared to be signed by Adams County Circuit Judge Chad Kukelhan.

    However, as he was examining the document, Burkhart said he discovered no cause number had been assigned to the case or the document in question. Further investigation revealed there is no way the document could have been signed by Kukelhan without the cause number attached, Burkhart said in the affidavit.

    He then spoke with Sara Ford,  who reportedly told Burkhart she was given the document by Holtzclaw, whom she had hired as her divorce attorney. When Ford received the document, Holtzclaw allegedly advised Ford her divorce was final.

    Later, when Ford had questions regarding support payments, she reportedly went to the Adams County Clerk's office to check on the issue. Ford was told the court had no record of her divorce having ever been filed in either Adams Circuit or Adams Superior Court.

    Burkhart met with Kukelhan to allow the judge to examine the document, according to the affidavit, at which time Kukelhan reportedly said there is no way he signed the document, and it appears it was not a stamp he uses, either. It was also learned Kukelhan was not in the office on the day the document was supposedly signed.

    Holtzclaw was issued a summons to appear in court March 6. 

    She will receive an order to report to book-in at the Adams County jail at the close of the initial hearing, Brown said.