TALLAHASSEE — Plantation attorney Lauren Elizabeth Bannigan was recently suspended from the practice of law for her alleged participation in a kickback scheme.
The Florida Supreme Court gave the order after an investigation into the attorney’s conduct revealed that she had played a role in a kickback scheme. The scheme involved employees of a health care company, for which she provided legal services, who allegedly used the names of their friends and family to obtain false pain cream prescriptions.
Bannigan was officially charged by the Florida Bar for “cheating,” a third-degree felony, as outlined in the documents released by the courts. The matter stems from spring 2015 when the attorney allegedly discovered a kickback scheme already in play at NuMed Care LLC (NuMed). Bannigan learned that not only were the employees creating false prescriptions for one of NuMed’s products, but they also were obtaining financial bonuses for doing so, according to the court documents. The scheme allegedly had been set up in part because of advice and legal counsel the attorney had provided the company during her tenure as NuMed’s general counsel.
While the attorney informed her client that the practice needed to end, she did not take any measures to remove herself from the situation and continued working with the company for an additional five months, records state. When the matter was brought to a federal court, the attorney cooperated with the investigation and pleaded no lo contendere to the charges. She was given three years probation as a result.
Upon receipt of the attorney’s plea, the Florida Bar recommended Bannigan be suspended from practice for 18 months.
The attorney has been a member of the Florida Bar since 2014. She is a graduate of the Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law and had no prior record of discipline.