Louisiana Record

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Baton Rouge attorney faces possible suspension for falsely billing federally funded program


By Karen Kidd | Jun 11, 2019

NEW ORLEANS — Longtime Baton Rouge attorney Margot A. Tillman-Fleet faces possible suspension following a recommendation issued May 30 by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee for fraudulently billing a federally financed program about 10 years ago.

Tillman-Fleet admitted to the charges against her and completed a pretrial diversion program prior to the recommendation, according to the 13-page recommendation issued by LADB Hearing Committee No. 25.

"The office of disciplinary counsel and the evidence did prove that a crime was committed," the recommendation said. "The committee recommends that [Tillman-Fleet] be suspended for a period of two years and pay all of the cost of these proceedings."

The recommendation was signed May 28 by committee chair Charles S. McCown Jr., and was issued two days later. Attorney member James A. Taylor and public member Jill B. Davis concurred in the recommendation.

Tillman-Fleet was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 22, 1988, according to her profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s website. Tillman-Fleet, who was 73 at the time of her hearing in April, had no prior history of discipline, according to the recommendation.

The office of disciplinary counsel filed its charged against Tillman-Fleet after she self-reported in February 2012 of her arrest in January of the previous year for theft, public payroll fraud and filing false public records, according to the recommendation. Those charges reportedly stemmed from invoices she submitted between October 2008 and September 2009 while she worked for the Highway Safety Program of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, which was funded by a federal grant.

Tillman-Fleet allegedly billed the program for $53,000 for time and travel for events that did not occur.

"The matter was resolved through a pretrial diversion program," the recommendation said. "As a stipulation, [Tillman-Fleet] was only required to make $2,500 in retribution. [Tillman-Fleet] admits that she was paid some compensation which was not earned."  

Tillman-Fleet ultimately reimbursed about $3,600, according to the recommendation.

The committee considers the fact that the time [Tillman-Fleet] was allowed to enter, and did complete, toward the pretrial diversion program to be a mitigating factor," the recommendation said. "She says that there is no record of any criminal conviction. She stipulates, however, that she broke state law."

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Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court

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