NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) – Metairie attorney Michael Keith LeBlanc, who was arrested earlier this year in Florida on Mississippi arrest warrants alleging forgery and embezzlement, faces possible permanent disbarment following a recommendation issued Sept. 6 by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee.
The baseline sanction in LeBlanc's case is disbarment, according to the five-page recommendation issued by LADB Hearing Committee No. 55.
"There are several aggravating factors warranting an upward deviation from the baseline sanction of disbarment and there are no applicable mitigating factors," the hearing committee's recommendation said. "The aggravating factors are prior disciplinary offenses, dishonest motive, pattern of misconduct, multiple offenses, vulnerability of the victim, substantial experience in the practice of law, indifference to making restitution and illegal conduct."
The recommendation was signed by committee Chair James K. Irvin, attorney member Bobby Delise and public member Francinia Henry.
LeBlanc, 52, was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 19, 2002, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
Allegations against LeBlance stem from his alleged theft of two checks from a former employer which were eventually cashed for about $4,000, according to information received by the office of disciplinary counsel from the Jackson County Mississippi Sheriff's Department in August 2015.
"Since the date of the discovery of the stolen checks, (LeBlanc) failed to return to his employer's office and fled the jurisdiction of Mississippi," the recommendation said. "Law enforcement described (LeBlanc) as a fugitive from justice. Recently, the office of disciplinary counsel was advised that (LeBlanc) was apprehended on an open warrant while in Miami ... and has been extradited to the state of Mississippi."
LeBlanc's disciplinary history includes an admonition in August 2007 over a conflict off interest and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, according to the hearing committee's recommendation.
In September 2012, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended LeBlanc for three years retroactive to July 29, 2008, the date of his interim suspension, over allegations that LeBlanc neglected legal matters, failed to communicate with his clients and failed to promptly refund unearned fees.
"(LeBlanc)s prior discipline imposed by consent was for the maximum three-year suspension and was for serious misconduct," the recommendation said. "It has now been followed by instance of criminal conduct which, alone, would warrant the baseline sanction of disbarment."