Four plead guilty in New Orleans staged-crash fraud scheme

December 18, 2020

Land Line Staff

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Four defendants have pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud connected to a staged-crash scheme in New Orleans.

The four New Orleans residents pleading guilty:

  • Anthony Robinson, 67.
  • Audrey Harris, 53.
  • Jerry Schaffer, 66.
  • Keishira Robinson, 26.

All admitted to being involved in a staged-crash scheme involving a commercial vehicle on Oct. 13, 2015, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Eastern District of Louisiana.

The four admitted to being involved in intentionally colliding with a tractor-trailer in the area of Alvar Street and France Road in New Orleans.

Roderick Hickman, who pleaded guilty to a previous indictment charging him and 10 others with staging automobile accidents, was driving Anthony Robinson’s vehicle at the time of this collision. The vehicle Hickman was driving struck a tractor-trailer owned and operated by C.R. England, and then was picked up from the collision site by Damian Labeaud, who has also pleaded guilty to a previous indictment as part of this investigation.

After the staged-crash incident, Anthony Robinson, who had been in Labeaud’s vehicle at the time of the collision, then got behind the wheel of his own vehicle to make it appear that he had been driving at the time of the staged accident. He falsely reported to the New Orleans Police Department that he had been driving and that the tractor-trailer had struck his vehicle.

According to documents filed in federal court, all four defendants were referred to an attorney who paid Labeaud for staging this accident, among others. All of the defendants were treated by doctors and healthcare providers at the direction of their attorneys, and Anthony Robinson, Harris and Schaffer underwent surgeries. In total, in July 2019, the victim trucking and insurance company paid out approximately $4.7 million for the fraudulent claims associated with this staged accident, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

More than 30 people involved in the staged-crash scheme

These guilty pleas bring the total number of defendants who have tendered guilty pleas in this federal probe into the staging of accidents with tractor-trailers to 15. A total of 33 defendants, including one personal injury attorney, have been charged.

The four defendants pleading guilty on Dec. 17 face a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person of the offense, and a mandatory special assessment of $100. After any term of imprisonment that may be imposed, they also face a term of supervised release of up to three years.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 31. LL

Previous Land Line coverage of this staged-crash case:

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