BATON ROUGE — An attorney who pleaded
guilty in 2013 to filing a false tax return with the IRS has been
disbarred by the Louisiana Supreme Court.
In an order handed down Jan. 25, the
court retroactively disbarred Francis
C. Broussard of West Monroe to Feb. 26, 2014, the date of his
interim suspension from the Louisiana bar.
Broussard was indicted in September
2012 on four counts of filing false returns for the years 2005, 2006,
2007 and 2008, for his failed attempt to receive more than $9.7
million in tax refunds, according to the
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.
Agents of the IRS interviewed
Broussard in February 2009 regarding his returns for 2005, 2006 and
2008. After that initial contact with agents, Broussard went ahead
and filed a return for 2007 that sought a multi-million refund.
In April 2013, Broussard pleaded guilty
to the fourth count that charged him with filing the false 2007
return. He was later sentenced in federal court in Monroe by U.S.
District Judge Robert James to serve a 28-month prison sentence,
followed by three years of supervised release.
According to court documents, the
sentence James imposed was smaller than that from recommended
sentencing guidelines of 51 to 60 months.
"The extreme difference between
the attempted and actual loss in this case, the defendant clearly
irrational actions in continuing to pursue a fraud of another $3
million when he was under investigation indicate that the guideline
range is inappropriate in this case," James wrote
in his sentencing order.
At a hearing before the state's Office
of Disciplinary Counsel in October 2013, Broussard testified that he
was at a low period when he committed the crime for which he pleaded
guilty. He also claimed that he was depressed and anxious as a result
of years of physical and emotional abuse by his wife. In addition,
Broussard was getting a divorce, owed back taxes, was trying to keep
two households and "was very angry at the government,"
according to a summary
of the hearing.
According to the Louisiana Judges and
Lawyers Assistance Program, research
conducted at Johns Hopkins University said that lawyers and judges
top the list of 105 professions studied in the incidence of major
Further, JLAP states that one-third of
lawyers and judges suffer from depression, which is the top cause of
"Research suggests that those who
suffer from intense perfectionism are at higher risk for suicide,"
the JLAP article said. "They are driven by an intense need to
Jeff Jay, a clinical interventionist
and educator in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, wrote in an article
Right Way to Help" that Louisiana's JLAP program offers
judges and lawyers confidential and specialized support for those
suffering from mental-health and addiction issues.
"As addiction and mental-health
issues are left unattended, it becomes impossible to keep a lid on
problems, and the false hope of maintaining privacy evaporates,"
he wrote. "Like most problems, these issues are best addressed
at the earliest possible stage. Rebuilding a professional and
personal life is easier before the worst consequences occur. We also
help protect the reputation of the profession at large by taking