Former La. Sen. disbarred after admitting to using campaign money to fund gambling addiction

Home » Former La. Sen. disbarred after admitting to using campaign money to fund gambling addiction

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – The Louisiana Supreme Court on Tuesday (Oct. 18) officially disbarred former Senator Karen Carter Peterson, who admitted to using campaign money to fund her gambling habit.

Peterson pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges on Mon., Aug. 1.

The state’s high court disbarred Peterson retroactively to Aug. 18, the date of her interim suspension. Her license to practice law in Louisiana was also revoked as part of the disciplinary action.

Peterson admitted to funneling more than $147,000 in campaign funds into cash that funded a gambling habit, with the help of four friends who cashed checks written by her on campaign accounts for a fee.

Her defense attorney, Brian Capitelli, said he remained hopeful that Peterson could get less than the possible 20-year prison term she faces when sentenced on Dec. 7.

“She’s already paid (back) all the money,” Capitelli said. “It’s a matter of where it goes. Money has been paid back to the party and the campaign and she’ll move on.”

Carter admitted to a scheme in which she wrote campaign checks to individuals who cashed them for a fee and turned the cash over to her. She faces the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000. The felony conviction will also prevent her from practicing law in Louisiana.

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