On Thursday, November 16, 2023, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended attorney and former investigator Frank John Labruzzo from practicing law on an interim basis. The suspension comes after Labruzzo was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in August.
The case is titled ‘In the Matter of Frank John Labruzzo’ with case no. 2023-B-1506.
According to a news report, Labruzzo held escrow funds from multi-million dollar deals for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. However, he allegedly pocketed or diverted much of the money to be held in escrow, leaving insufficient funds for companies that did not receive their purchased equipment.
Labruzzo worked as an investigator for the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office during this time period. He had been with the AG’s office since 2005 but resigned in April 2023 after the office learned the FBI was investigating him for his role in the alleged PPE fraud scheme.
Labruzzo is accused alongside Cynthia Caronna and another unnamed coconspirator of setting up a scheme through Caronna’s UK-based company, Banton USA, to sell PPE during the height of the pandemic. Labruzzo’s role was as the escrow agent holding buyer’s funds, but charging documents say he diverted much of that money to Caronna and Banton instead of returning it as promised.
A New Jersey company sued Labruzzo and Caronna in 2021 for failing to manage a $3.2 million escrow account properly and not returning $1 million owed from a PPE deal.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel then filed a petition seeking Labruzzo’s interim suspension from practicing law based on the criminal charges he faces. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted the suspension pending the results of disciplinary proceedings to be instituted according to the court’s rules. His law license will remain suspended until the disciplinary proceedings concerning his case are complete.
The disposition reads:
“IT IS ORDERED that respondent, Frank John LaBruzzo, Louisiana Bar Roll number 26771, be and he hereby is suspended from the practice of law on an interim basis pursuant to Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 19, pending further orders of this court. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 26(E), this order is effective immediately.”
According to Avvo, Frank John Labruzzo was a debt collection attorney based in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended the Southern University for his Juris Doctor degree. He acquired his license in Louisiana in 2000.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.