Denham Springs attorney placed on supervised probation for alleged mishandled trust account

By Karen Kidd | Jan 17, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — Longtime Denham Springs attorney Michael A. Betts has received a deferred suspension and has been placed on supervised probation following a Jan. 14 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding over allegations he mishandled his client trust account.

The Supreme Court accepted the joint petition for consent discipline between Betts and the office of chief disciplinary counsel and handed down a fully deferred year-and-a-day suspension, according to the court's single-page attorney disciplinary proceeding. The court also placed Betts on two years' supervised probation, to be governed by the conditions in the petition for consent discipline.

Betts' probation will begin the date that he, the probation monitor and the office of disciplinary counsel execute a formal probation plan, according to the order.

"Any failure of [Betts] to comply with the conditions of probation, or any misconduct during the probationary period, may be grounds for making the deferred suspension executory, or imposing additional discipline, as appropriate," the order said.

Betts also was ordered to pay all costs and expenses in the matter.

Betts was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 24, 1975, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.

The joint petition for consent discipline came after the office of disciplinary counsel began an investigation into allegations that Betts mishandled his client trust account, according to the attorney disciplinary proceeding.

In April 2017 the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) recommended Betts be publicly reprimanded for failures to communicate with a client, timely prosecute the client's case and deliver the client's file upon request.

In September 2016 an LADB hearing committee recommended Betts be publicly reprimanded for failure to communicate with a client. In that matter, Betts had been charged by office of disciplinary counsel with lack of diligence, lack of communication, failure to return client's file upon termination of representation and failure to cooperate with the state bar's investigation.

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Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court

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