Love Triangle Now a Messy Scrap in Big Easy

     New Orleans (CN) – A woman charged with defrauding Medicare of $30 million claims in a lawsuit that she paid thousands to her lover, a prominent attorney, to “clean up a mess” made by his jealous wife, a federal judge.
     In a complaint filed in the Orleans Parish District Court on June 15, Lisa Crinel says her home was raided last year on a warrant signed by the wife of her lover, well-known New Orleans attorney Clarence Roby Jr.
     Following the raid, Crinel says, Roby took $35,000 in legal fees from her without ever disclosing that it is improper to represent your lover in a matter brought by your wife.
     Crinel and Roby carried on an “intimate, romantic relationship,” that lasted about a year, beginning in September 2013, according to the lawsuit, which was the Top Download on Wednesday for Courthouse News Service.
     Roby allegedly acted as Crinel’s attorney in January 2014 when she tried to buy the assets of another home health business.
     “On March 24, 2014, Mr. Roby was at Ms. Crinel’s personal residence until late in the evening as their romantic relationship continued,” the lawsuit says.
     “On the morning of March 25, 2014, law enforcement agents raided Abide Home Care Services Inc.’s offices … [and] … conducted the search and seizure pursuant to a warrant signed by Federal Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby, Mr. Roby’s wife,” Crinel says.
     The lawsuit says Clarence Roby arrived at Abide Home Care Services Inc.’s office later that day to supervise the search as Crinel’s attorney.
     “As Ms. Crinel’s and Abide Home Care Services, Inc.’s legal problems mounted, Mr. Roby assured Ms. Crinel that he could represent her and her company because their affair predated the subject of the representation,” the complaint says.
     Crinel says she and Abide Home Care Services began paying Roby legal fees related to the case in May 2014, and that that he represented them until about December, 2014.
     During that time, “Mr. Roby never informed Ms. Crinel that it was a conflict of interest for him to represent her and her company while carrying on an extramarital affair with her, or that it was a conflict of interest for him to represent her in matters related to a search warrant that was signed by his wife,” the complaint says.
     Crinel and Roby’s professional relationship was in violation of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct because Roby “acted under multiple active conflicts of interest,” the lawsuit says.
     Crinel, who is now represented by a new legal team, seeks damages from Roby for breach of contract.
     Clarence Roby did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and Crinel’s new attorney, Sara Johnson, also did not immediately reply with comments.
     A clerk said Judge Roby had no comment.
     Crinel’s new lawyers have tried to suppress evidence obtained during the March, 2014 search of Abide Home Health Services, during which a reported $1 million in assets were confiscated.
     Crinel is the lead of 19 co-defendants who face allegations of a $30 million scheme to defraud Medicare.
     Prosecutors allege Crinel’s Abide Home Health Care Services operated a kickback scheme that paid doctors to order unnecessary and sometimes unwanted home healthcare treatment for Medicare recipients recruited by Abide employees.
     Abide nurses, among them registered nurse Sheila Mathieu, the mother of NFL player and former Louisiana state University player, Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu, allegedly helped overbill Medicare by $30 million.
     All of the defendants in the Medicare fraud case have pleaded not guilty.
     Crinel is represented by Sara Johnson of the Law Offices of Herbert V. Larson Jr. in New Orleans.

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