Atlanta attorney Everett H. Mechem, has been reciprocally disbarred following an Oct. 27 Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary proceeding, more than a year after his conviction on 28 counts of fraud in connection with a Social Security payment scheme
Mechem's disbarment in Louisiana follows a Louisiana State Bar Office of disciplinary counsel petition following his disbarment in Tennessee, according to the high court's three-page disciplinary proceeding. Mechem has been suspended in Louisiana since February, following a state supreme court order that month.
Mechem was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Sept. 28, 1984, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar's website. His profile indicate that he was periodically ineligible to practice law in Louisiana in August and September 2002 for noncompliance with continuing legal education requirements, unpaid bar dues and unpaid disciplinary dues.
In June 2016, a U.S. District Court jury in Greeneville, Tennessee, convicted Mechem, then 57, of 28 counts of wire fraud, two counts of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) fraud, two counts of providing false statements, and a single count of theft from the United States, according to a U.S. Justice Department news release. The following September, a federal judge sentenced Mechem to four years' probation.
The fraud conviction stemmed from the period between January 2009 to July 2013 when Mechem, attorney and representative payee for his wife, Sheila A. Mechem, schemed to obtain SSI payments for her to which she was not entitled, according to the release. Mechem allegedly reported to the Social Security Administration that he was living separately from his wife and that she had little to no income or resources during that time when the couple rented a five-bedroom home together in Kingsport, Tennessee, the news release said.
The couple also purchased a new home in 2012 and shared in the profits of Mechem's law practice in which Sheila Mechem worked as a paralegal and office manager, according to the release. During that period, Mechem collected monthly SSI payments for his wife's claimed inability to work, according to the release.
Mechem was disbarred in Tennessee on April 28, 2017, following an order by the Tennessee Supreme Court, according to the Louisiana Supreme Court's disciplinary proceeding.