Attorney honored by city ordered to pay $2 million to client

Attorney Stephen Jefferson has been found guilty of legal malpractice and ordered to repay a client $2 million as the Supreme court mulls his fate.

A local attorney who confessed to cheating a blind client out of $2 million and fraudulently making himself the beneficiary of the client’s will is waiting for the outcome of a Louisiana Supreme Court review of his actions.

Attorney Stephen Jefferson was suspended from the practice of law in November of 2020 while the Supreme Court reviews a malpractice judgment against the Monroe attorney from Monroe.

Attorney Jefferson filed documents in 4th District Court in October in which he made nine admissions of fraudulent activities involving a blind client that resulted in a $2 million judgment against him in 4th District Court before Judge Robert Johnson.

Court records obtained by the Free Press include an affidavit signed by Attorney Jefferson in which he admits that he was legal counsel to a blind client and defrauded him repeatedly. He said he was the attorney for a blind client Joseph Bartucci in which he admitted the following:

–I handled a lawsuit or threat of a lawsuit against the Horseshoe Casion in which negotiated a settlement and kept the funds without disbursing to Mr. Bartucci.

–I failed to file a divorce for Mr. Bartucci and told him that I did. He married a second time and I also told him that I filed and obtained a divorce on this marriage which in fact I did not do.

–Mr. Bartucci suffers from physical disabilities (brain damage, seizures, strokes, heart issues, and he is blind). He hired me as his attorney to handle the investments and distributions of his family trust to distribute funds for his living expenses. While performing these duties I co-mingled $1,187,000 of these funds with my personal and firm accounts and these funds are now unaccounted for.

–I filed suit on behalf of Mr. Bartucci against Lynn Stanford and collected the money from the suit and co-mingled these funds with my firm account so that funds are not accounted for.

–I destroyed or allowed to be destroyed Mr. Bartucci’s medical records.

–I represented to Mr. Bartucci that I had legal expertise in the entertainment field and attempted to negotiate a film deal when in fact I have no such experience. I never did any of the things that Mr. Bartucci told me to do as his attorney although I told him I did.

–I settled a personal injury suit on behalf of Mr. Bartucci and intermingled these funds with my firm accounts and these funds can no longer be accounted for.

–I prepared a will for Mr. Bartucci that states that I am his sole beneficiary and executor of his estate.

On October 1, 2020, Attorney Jefferson was ordered to repay Bartucci $2 million after a legal malpractice complaint was filed by Bartucci on September 23, 2020.

Last month the City of Monroe presented Attorney Jefferson with the James Sharp, Jr. Justice award. Mayor Oliver Ellis said Attorney Jefferson had over four decades of service helping fight for Justice in Monroe.

Most civil rights leaders in Monroe have no record of his involvement in the city’s civil rights fights.

Receiving the award at the City’s Martin Luther King Program, Jefferson questioned the award himself.

“I don’t know what I have done to deserve this award. I had the pleasure of practicing law with James Sharp, Jr. for over 30 years.”

Jefferson said Attorney Sharp had one quality he admired and that was the fact that “he always did what he said he was going to do, and you can’t say that today about attorneys.”

Click here to see the court documents