Kent Mercier, a former Lafayette lawyer, pleaded guilty to misusing about $77,000 in trust funds from the accounts of several former clients, The Advocate reported Tuesday.

The 51-year-old entered his plea Monday before 15th Judicial District Court Judge Edward Rubin to four counts of unauthorized use of a movable over $1,000. Each count carries a possible maximum five years in prison and $5,000 fine.

“I admitted to what I did and now I’m working toward moving forward with restitution,” Mercier told the paper after his plea. “I will sleep a whole lot better afterward.” Mercier said he used the funds hoping to replace them once other cases were settled.

Mercier voluntarily surrendered his law license in 2008, and the state Supreme Court accepted his permanent resignation after he self-reported the improper use of client funds. He is barred from ever practicing law again.

Read The Advocate story here.

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