NEW ORLEANS — Ineligible New Orleans attorney Akello Patrice Dangerfield faces possible permanent disbarment following a recommendation by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee for allegedly converting $128,000 in Deepwater Horizon settlement funds.
Dangerfield allegedly converted the funds during summer 2017 and she has not made restitution, according to the six-page recommendation issued March25 by LADB hearing committee No. 10.
"In Dangerfield's case, although she admitted to the actions and acknowledged the action was deliberate and international and expressed a desire to repay the sums converted, she has proposed no meaningful way for that to happen, and her former clients remain seriously harmed by her actions," the recommendation said.
The recommendation was signed March 20 by committee chair Scott A. Umberger and was issued five days later. Attorney member Anthony P. Dunbar and public member Chad M. Rachel concurred in the recommendation.
Dangerfield was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 11, 1996, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s website. Dangerfield has been ineligible to practice law in Louisiana since June 2018 over noncompliance with trust account registration and continuing legal education requirements and unpaid bar and disciplinary dues, according to her state bar profile.
Allegations against Dangerfield stem from a complaint filed in September 2017 by a New Orleans couple, owners of a commercial construction company, who hired Dangerfield in their claim for a Deepwater Horizon explosion litigation settlement, according to the recommendation. The couple had been satisfied with their settlement of $505,883, which Dangerfield received in March 2017. However, she later allegedly told the couple she had not received the money and also tried to negotiate a higher percentage of the recovery as her fee.
Dangerfield eventually disbursed about $303,000 to the couple but never paid them the remaining $128,000 due.
"She admitted that she had disbursed a large portion of the $128,000 of [the couples'] funds to another individual as a referral fee," said the office of disciplinary counsel's formal charges included in the recommendation. "[Dangerfield] was unable to completely recall how she used the remaining missing funds."
Formal charges were filed by the ODC in September but Dangerfield did not file an answer, and the factual allegations were deemed admitted in November, according to the recommendation.