More Defendants Plead Guilty in Louisiana Staged Auto Crash Cases

June 17, 2021

Two more defendants have pleaded guilty conspiring to stage automobile accidents in order to defraud insurance and trucking companies.

The defendants from Orleans and Jefferson Parishes pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Sarah S. Vance to helping stage automobile accidents with tractor-trailers in New Orleans, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana said.

U. S. Attorney Duane A. Evans said Doniesha Gibson, 29, of New Orleans, and Erica Lee Thompson, 46, of Harvey, Louisiana, entered guilty pleas on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud.

According to the guilty pleas, Gibson and Thompson, along with their co-conspirators and others, beginning in approximately as early as 2015 and continuing through the present, conspired to commit wire fraud in connection with staged accidents with Cornelius Garrison, including two that occurred on Oct. 15, 2015, and Sept. 6, 2017.

With the current pleas, a total of 22 defendants have been convicted in “Operation Sideswipe.”

Gibson admitted to being a passenger in a staged accident on Oct. 15, 2015. On that day, her former co-defendant intentionally drove a 2014 Dodge Avenger owned by Gibson into a Hotard bus while traveling on the I-10 near the flyover of the I-510.

Gibson retained an attorney and thereafter made a claim for damages. The total settlement for the Hotard bus accident was approximately $677,500.

Thompson admitted that on Sept. 6, 2017, on the I-10 near the Almonaster exit, she was a passenger in a 2015 RAV4 being driven by a former co-defendant, when he intentionally crashed into a tractor-trailer owned by Averitt Express. Thompson retained counsel and made a claim for damages. The total settlement for the Averitt accident was $30,000.

In total, the victim trucking, bus, and insurance companies paid out approximately $707,500.00 for these two fraudulent claims orchestrated by the defendants and others.

Gibson and Thompson face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and/or a fine of $250,000 or the greater. Sentencing in this matter is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2021, before United States District Judge Sarah S. Vance.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

Topics Auto Louisiana

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