The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Karen Parker may have divorced her husband in 2009, but she was still indicted with him last week – by a federal grand jury – for payroll fraud charges that allegedly occurred before, during, and after the marriage.
Practical Paralegalism mulled over this burgeoning New Orleans parish brouhaha back in January 2010, when Parker’s qualifications to be a paralegal supervisor were being questioned by local media outlets. She was allegedly being paid $64,000 a year to do clerical work and take pictures of new employees, in a position that had been created by her then husband and former parish president, Aaron Broussard.
NOLA.com reported that Parker, along with her ex-husband and the former parish attorney, have been charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and stealing money from an agency receiving federal money.
The 25-page indictment is interesting reading. According to the indictment, Parker started working as an administrative assistant for Jefferson Parish Council in 1992. In July 2003, she resigned from her job of over 10 years, working for Broussard at the time, to go work for Broussard. I know, it initially confused me, too, but she was working for Councilman Broussard and quit to work for Broussard’s campaign for Parish President. Broussard was elected Parish President later that year.
Thomas Wilkinson, the parrish attorney since 1996 – now supervised by Broussard – then rescinded Parker’s resignation from Jefferson Parish Council, “eliminating any breach in her employment,” and hired her as a Paralegal Supervisor with a $48,000 annual salary (exceeding the top end of the parish’s established salary range for this position). In the spring of 2004, Parker and Broussard married.
The parish job description required a Paralegal Supervisor “to have completed paralegal training and certification,” which according to the indictment, Parker had not done.
Perhaps that explains why she was removed from the parish attorney’s office and assigned to ID Management at the library within a few months of becoming a Paralegal Supervisor. Only she kept the job title and the salary that came with it.
I guess the most damning finding in the indictment is paragraph 29: “Under the title Paralegal Supervisor for Jefferson Parish, defendant Karen Parker was paid approximately $323,308.13 for the years 2004-2010.”
Seriously, how many of my paralegal readers employed in the deep South made that much money from 2004-2010?
The indictment totals 33 counts. To put it in layman’s terms, the United States of America and the Justice Department are really mad at Parker, Broussard, and Wilkinson.
I guess the paralegal supervisor gravy train officially derailed.