Former Democrat Senator faces criminal charges, gets law license suspended

The legal license of former longtime Louisiana state senator Karen Carter Peterson was revoked after she pled guilty to wire fraud earlier this month. In addition to being a senator, Peterson also chaired the state’s Democratic party, which she admitted to stealing funds from. Additionally, she admitted to siphoning funds and falsely reporting expenses to cover her tracks.

Here is video of her resignation:

After being indicted in a nearly seven-year fraudulent scheme, Karen Carter Peterson has appeared in court. The former senator defrauded contributors to the Karen Carter Peterson Campaign Fund according to court documents received by WGNO in July. It appears that Peterson committed these crimes between 2010 and 2022 while serving as both a state senator and party chairman in Louisiana’s Fifth District.

In addition, the Justice Department reported that Peterson allegedly would write checks drawn on the KCPCF to friends and associates. The documents show that Peterson made them cash the checks at area banks, and then got the money back. At times, the DOJ says a person who cashed the check would be allowed to retain a share of the funds.

According to her tax forms, Peterson used the money for gambling-related issues rather than political campaigns. Almost $100,000 was diverted from the fund between November 2013 and March 2020. None of the six “friends and associates” of Peterson or four companies controlled by people who participated in the scheme was identified by the prosecutors, as reported.

After WWL-TV reported that Peterson has violated her self-imposed ban on entering Louisiana casinos, she announced she was addicted to gambling minutes later. Last April, she unexpectedly resigned from the state Senate, due to depression and gambling issues she had been struggling with for years. Peterson is awaiting sentencing on Dec. 7 after pleading guilty to a single count of wire fraud, bringing down the curtain on a 22-year stellar career in the state Legislature.

After that, the court announced that her law license has been suspended pending formal disciplinary action. Convictions similar to Peterson’s often lead to disbarment. “She’ll likely be disbarred,” attorney Dane Ciolino, who specializes in legal ethics, was quoted as saying. “The real question is whether she’ll be permanently disbarred.” Ordinary disbarment enables lawyers to reapply for admission to the bar in five years.

The motion comes after Peterson was charged with committing fraud against the Louisiana Democratic Party while she was chair of the organization. As previously mentioned, Court documents indicate Peterson defrauded campaign donors all the way from 2010 to earlier this year, which led to her resignation in April. Peterson was additionally accused of spending the stolen money on gambling, something she has publicly acknowledged struggling with, further reported.

During Peterson’s arraignment on Aug. 1, Judge Sara S. Vance deferred a guilty plea to a single charge of wire fraud. Vance deferred Peterson’s guilty plea to a single charge of wire fraud. If convicted, Peterson could face up to 20 years in prison and be fined up to $250,000. She is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on December 7.

Photo: YouTube screencap

This story syndicated with licensed permission from Frank who writes about daily news and politics. Follow Frank on Facebook and Twitter

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