On April 7, 2022, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana announced that a defendant had pleaded guilty to a staged collision scheme with a tractor-trailer in New Orleans. The guilty plea brought the total number of defendants convicted in “Operation Sideswipe” to thirty-five (35), according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As part of her plea, the defendant admitted her involvement in a scheme to falsely claim she was a passenger in a car that was struck by a tractor-trailer on June 8, 2016. In fact, the government’s evidence showed that the defendant conspired with others to intentionally collide the car with a tractor-trailer in the area of Chickasaw Street and Louisa Street in New Orleans.
The defendant lied in her civil deposition, falsely claiming that her friend was driving when in fact another man was driving the car and intentionally hit the tractor-trailer. Through her false statements, she hoped to secure lucrative monetary settlements from the owner, driver, and insurer of the tractor-trailer. Her case was later settled, which resulted in a settlement check.
The defendant faces a maximum penalty of five (5) years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release of up to three (3) years, a fine of up to $250,000.00, as well as a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.00. Sentencing in this matter is set for July 13, 2022. But this accident was not the only staged collision with tractor-trailers uncovered by “Operation Sideswipe.”
A search of the phrase “Operation Sideswipe” on the U.S. Department of Justice website revealed convictions for staged collisions in New Orleans to defraud trucking companies that initially resulted in settlements of $30,000, $43,000, $140,000, $677,500, and a $4.7 million settlement that led to a husband and wife being sentenced to four years in prison.
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