POSTED: Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 12:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 12:04pm
LAPLACE, LA — A LaPlace lawyer pleaded guilty on Monday to stealing more than $58,000 in settlement funds from an elderly client, criminal prosecutors with the Louisiana Attorney General’s office said.
Kerry D. Brown, 42, of 144 East Lakeview Drive, entered a guilty plea to theft of the assets of an aged person, monetary instrument abuse, and forgery in the 40th Judicial District Court in LaPlace.
Brown, a personal injury attorney, represented an elderly client in an automobile accident which settled out of court in April 2010. An investigation conducted by Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board's Office of Disciplinary Counsel revealed that Brown did not notify the client of the settlement and failed to distribute the funds to the client. Instead, Brown forged the client’s signature on the settlement checks and deposited the money into his law firm’s trust account. He then wrote checks from the trust account to himself, totaling more than $58,000. Brown surrendered to Louisiana State Police in May 2012 after a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Special Ad Hoc Judge Michael Kirby gave Brown a five-year suspended sentence on each count, two years active supervised probation and three years of inactive probation. Brown was also ordered to pay $58,041.09 in restitution to the victim, as well as $5,000 in fines and court costs.
Brown was placed on an interim suspension in December 2011 by the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board's Office of Disciplinary Counsel pending the outcome of the case.