NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Supreme Court recently suspended Candace Pousson Howay, a Lake Charles attorney, from the practice of law for allegedly using funds paid to her firm to write checks to her cousin and her mother's company.
The decision was handed down on May 19 at the behest of the Louisiana State Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC).
According to court documents, Howay was employed by the law firm Lundy, Lundy, Soileau and South LLP (Lundy) where she represented Matheson Tri-Gas in their real estate dealings. The attorney later accepted a named partner position at the firm Bradley, Moreau, Howay & Stag APLC. Matheson intended to follow her to the new firm and sent a letter to notify Lundy.
During the transfer, Lundy began gathering Matheson’s files to return to the client and discovered several accounting irregularities.
The documents state that a $9,000 check was issued from the Matheson client trust account and made payable to a Maury Miller. The check did not have any accompanying information to help discern the nature of the payment, and Lundy says an invoice for the check was never submitted to its accounting department. An attempt to investigate the check was made, but Howay allegedly did not respond. It was later found that the check’s recipient was the attorney’s cousin, and the check was deposited into an account that he and the attorney’s mother had access to.
A second fraudulent check was issued for $1,800 in June 2014. Howay allegedly requested the funds from the Lundy accounting department under the impression that the money was for legal costs associated with a Matheson pipeline deal. The check was deposited into an account for Pouvoir Ventures LLC, a company owned and operated by the attorney’s mother.
Lundy filed a disciplinary complaint with the Louisiana State Bar, which recommended suspension. Howay will be suspended for one year and one day and is ordered to pay $1,800 in restitution.
The Calcasieu Parish attorney was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar in 2009. She was previously suspended in June 2016 for failing to comply with the continuing legal education requirement to keep her license active.