Five more individuals have pled guilty to their involvement in insurance fraud schemes arising out of staged automobile accidents with tractor-trailers in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana reported that Lois Russell, 61, of Gibson, Louisiana; Tanya Givens, 43, of Gibson; Henry Randle, 64, of Gibson; John Diggs, 60, of Thibodaux, Louisiana; and Dakota Diggs, 25, of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in relation to the schemes that have plagued the New Orleans area.
According to the guilty plea, on March 27, 2017, Russell, Givens, and J. Diggs conspired with passenger James “Curtis” Williams to stage an accident with a tractor-trailer at the intersection of Chef Menteur Highway and Downman Road.
Damien Labeaud and Roderick Hickman, who have already pleaded guilty to staging other accidents, also participated in this accident. Hickman, while driving Russell’s car, intentionally struck the 18-wheeler and then fled the scene with Labeaud. Russell advised the New Orleans Police Department that she was the driver and she, along with Givens and J. Diggs, made claims for personal injuries. In total, the victim trucking and insurance companies paid out $272,500.00 for these fraudulent claims.
Also according to today’s guilty plea, on May 17, 2017, Randle and D. Diggs, along with participants Labeaud, Mario Solomon and Ryan Wheaten participated in a staged automobile accident in the vicinity of U.S. Highway 90 East and Calliope Street in New Orleans.
Labeaud and Solomon fled the scene. Randle falsely reported to the NOPD that he had been driving and that the tractor-trailer had struck his vehicle. Shortly thereafter, Labeaud and Solomon went on to stage a second accident in the vicinity of Louisa Street and Chickasaw Street with Bernell Gale (Gale), Troy Smith (Smith), Marvel Francois (Francois), and another passenger. Labeaud, Solomon, Wheaten, Gale, Smith, and Francois were also charged. Labeaud, Solomon, Gale, Smith, and Francois already pled guilty.
Randle, D. Diggs, and Wheaten made claims for personal injuries. The victim trucking and insurance companies paid out approximately $10,000.00 for these fraudulent claims.
Russell, Givens, Randle, J. Diggs, and D. Diggs face a maximum sentence of five years.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 15, 2021, before U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office acknowledged the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana State Police, and the Metropolitan Crime Commission. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Rivera, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carboni, Assistant U.S. Attorney Shirin Hakimzadeh, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, chief of the Financial Crimes Unit.
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