A former St. John the Baptist Parish assistant district attorney has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $58,000 in settlement money from an elderly client, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday.
Kerry Brown, 42, 144 E. Lakeview Drive, LaPlace, pleaded guilty Monday to theft of the assets of an aged person, monetary instrument abuse, and forgery in 40th Judicial District Court in Edgard.
Brown, a personal injury lawyer, represented an elderly client who was involved in an automobile accident in a case that was settled out of court in April 2010.
An investigation by State Police and the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board found Brown did not notify his client about the settlement, instead forging a signature on the settlement checks and depositing the money into his law firm’s trust account.
Brown then wrote checks to himself from the trust account totaling more than $58,000. He originally surrendered to authorities in May 2012, after an arrest warrant was issued.
Brown was fired from his job at the District Attorney’s Office in November 2011.
A month later, he was placed on interim suspension by the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel pending the outcome of the case.
Special Ad Hoc Judge Michael Kirby gave Brown a five-year suspended sentence on each count, two years of active supervised probation and three years of inactive probation. Brown was ordered to pay $58,041.09 in restitution to the victim, as well as $5,000 in fines and court costs.
Brown worked as an assistant district attorney for two years before running for St. John’s top prosecutor in 2008.
He promised during his campaign that he would be “aggressive in convicting criminals” if he won the post.
“I will not tolerate lawlessness,” he proclaimed at the time.
The race was Brown’s first foray into politics. He lost to District Attorney Tom Daley, who recused himself from the recent case.
Ironically, Brown said in a newspaper interview during the campaign thathe would take a hard line prosecuting those who committed crimes against the elderly.
“I have a deep commitment to the people of St. John, and this is not about politics for me: It is about safety and getting the best results for the entire St. John community,” he said.