Louisiana Record

Sunday, October 20, 2019

LADB recommends permanent disbarment for longtime New Orleans lawyer over health care fraud conviction

Discipline

By Karen Kidd | Sep 26, 2019


NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) —  Suspended New Orleans attorney Louella P. Givens-Harding faces possible permanent disbarment following a Sept. 24 Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) recommendation to the Louisiana Supreme Court over her 2017 federal health care fraud conviction.

In its unanimous 11-page recommendation, the eight-member LADB cited a specific professional conduct rule that Medicare/Medicaid fraud is the same as insurance fraud "for which permanent disbarment is warranted," the LADB recommendation said.

"The board further finds the mitigating factors of lack of prior discipline and imposition of other penalties or sanctions to be applicable in this matter," the LADB recommendation said. The LADB also recommended Givens-Harding be ordered to pay all costs and expenses in the proceedings against her.

Givens-Harding, was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 27, 1990, according to her profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.

Disciplinary allegations against Givens-Harding stem from a June 2015 criminal complaint filed against her in U.S. District Court for Louisiana's Eastern District on health care fraud charges under the federal anti-kickback statute. In August 2017 Givens-Harding acknowledged the charges in the criminal complaint and pleaded guilty to one count in the indictment against her in exchange for dismissal of three other counts.

In November 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Jay C. Zainey sentenced Givens-Harding to 18 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered her to pay more than $575,000 in restitution to Medicare.

Givens-Harding had been held at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, with a release date of Feb. 5, 2020, according to an online federal inmate search earlier this year. A more recent online federal inmate search did not turn up an inmate by her name.

The Supreme Court issued an order in February of last year placing Givens-Harding on interim suspension. In January a LADB hearing committee recommended Givens-Harding be permanently disbarred.

"After considering the aggravating factors, the absence of mitigating factors and the case law, the committee found that an upward deviation from the baseline sanction of disbarment was warranted and recommended that [Givens-Harding] be permanently disbarred," the LADB recommendation said. "The committee also recommended that the [Givens-Harding] be cast with all costs and expenses of these proceedings."

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Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

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