Two More New Orleans Area Defendants Sentenced for Conspiring to Stage Automobile Collisions in Order to Defraud Insurance and Trucking Companies

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that on May 25, 2022 DONIESHA GIBSON (“GIBSON”), age 31, of New Orleans, Louisiana and ERICA LEE THOMPSON (“ERICA LEE”), age 47, of Harvey, Louisiana, were sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, arising out of staged automobile collisions with tractor-trailers occurring in New Orleans.

According to documents filed in federal court, GIBSON and ERICA LEE, 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, including two that occurred on October 15, 2015,  and September 6, 2017.  Thus far, the total number of defendants convicted in “Operation Sideswipe” is thirty-seven (37).

GIBSON admitted to being a passenger in a staged accident on October 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 $677,500.00.

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

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 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.

United States District Judge Sarah S. Vance sentenced GIBSON to seventeen (17) months incarceration, followed by a three(3) year term of supervised release, restitution in the amount of $677,500.00, and a $100.00 mandatory special assessment fee.  THOMPSON was sentenced to three (3) years probation, restitution in the amount of $121,076.75, 100 hours of community service, and a $100.00 mandatory special assessment fee.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana State Police, and the Metropolitan Crime Commission with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit; Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Rivera; Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carboni; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Long.