A New Iberia ex-wife-and-husband team, attorneys Lucretia Patrice Pecantte and Lynden James Burton, have been suspended following separate Sept. 22 Louisiana Supreme Court orders after their guilty pleas earlier this year that they willfully failed to file federal tax returns.
The state court issued its orders, one for Pecantte and one for Burton, following separate petitions filed by the office of disciplinary counsel asking the high court to suspend both on an interim basis "for threat of harm", according to the one-page orders. The orders were effective immediately pending further order from the court.
Both orders indicated the office of disciplinary counsel may appoint trustees to protect the interests of the pair's clients, pursuance to supreme court rules, "if appropriate".
Pecantte was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 28, 1995, according to her profile at the Louisiana State Bar's website. Burton was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 10, 1997, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar's website.
Their guilty pleas to willfully failing to file federal tax returns were entered March 6, 2017, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, according a news release issued the same day by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Pecantte, who went by "Pecantte-Burton" while still married to Burton, and Burton, were licensed attorneys and partners in the law firm of Pecantte-Burton & Burton in New Iberia, according to the news release. New Iberia is about 30 miles southeast of Lafayette in Iberia Parish.
The pair provided general legal services and representation and regularly received cash payments from clients for legal services, according to the release. The pair also had a partnership interest in a tax return preparation business, according to the release.
The pair did not file individual income tax returns for the tax years 2007, 2008 and 2009, according to the release. "They filed delinquent returns after learning that they were under criminal investigation by the Internal Revenue Service," the release said.
Burton and Pecantte-Burton each face a statutory maximum sentence of 12 months in prison and a period of supervised release, in addition to restitution and monetary penalties, according to the release.