NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — Gretna attorney Connie Phuong Trieu faces a possible fully deferred suspension following a split Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) recommendation to the state Supreme Court over allegations she failed to fully disburse trust account funds.
In its 14-page recommendation, the LADB adopted a hearing committee's conclusions last spring that a deferred six-month suspension and the requirement to attend trust accounting school "is reasonable and appropriate."
"It appears she was somewhat inattentive and failed to follow up on a few matters in which she was asked to escrow funds to facilitate real estate transactions," the recommendation said, adding Trieu "seems to have had justification" in delaying disbursement of some funds. "In addition she allowed a modest amount of attorney funds to remain in her trust account," the recommendation said.
The office of disciplinary counsel has not objected to the recommendation.
LADB adjudicative committee member Dominick Scandurro Jr. said in his partial dissent he agreed "with everything in the recommendation except the sanction," saying he would have recommended a public reprimand.
"Trust account compliance is complicated and tricky and I do not think [Trieu]'s handling of her trust account merits a suspension, even if all deferred," Scandurro said in his partial dissent. "I would hope that similar trust account errors would be handled with a private admonition instead of he filing of formal charges."
Trieu was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 13, 2006, according to her profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s website. Trieu had no prior history of discipline.
The office of disciplinary counsel began an investigation into Trieu's trust account after receiving a bank notice in September 2016 that the account was overdrawn, according to the LADB's recommendation. A subsequent audit found the overdraft resulted from a lender's failure to timely wire funds associated with a real estate transaction but also identified "multiple running balances" of funds due to clients or buyers.
In April an LADB hearing committee recommended Trieu receive a fully deferred six-month suspension and that she be required to complete an account management court. The hearing committee issued that recommendation after finding Trieu in "technical violation" of a profession conduct rule that was "negligent, unintentional and mitigated" and that she was "sincere in her remorse and truthful in her explanation."