Five More Implicated in New Orleans Staged Accidents

Federal Investigation Dates to 2015
Gavel and handcuffs
The government estimates that as many as 150 staged accidents with trucks have occurred in recent years in the New Orleans area. (vladans/Getty Images)

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An ongoing federal investigation into staged accidents with tractor-trailers in the New Orleans area in recent months has implicated five additional participants in the scams that have so far resulted in charges against 60 individuals.

Four of the participants have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while a fifth participant has been sentenced to 24 months in federal prison. Florence Randle, 72, of Gibson, La., was sentenced Dec. 13 to two years in federal prison and restitution totaling $63,508, for recruiting and directing passengers to participate in staged accidents with tractor-trailers on May 17, 2017, and June 6, 2017.

Shirley Harris, 38, of New Orleans, pleaded guilty Feb. 20 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for her role in intentionally crashing into a tractor-trailer on April 24, 2017. Harris faces a sentence of up to five years in prison and $10,000 in restitution.

Three other participants in staged crashes with tractor-trailers — Dimitri Frazier, 31, of Westwego, La.; Adonte Turner, 25; and Tiffany Turner, 52, both of New Orleans — pleaded guilty Jan. 10 for their roles in a staged accident with a tractor-trailer Nov. 13, 2017. All three face sentences of up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines, according to court documents.

The five individuals were nabbed by the federal authorities for their participation in staged accidents in the New Orleans area dating to 2015. The investigations were part of the FBI’s “Operation Sideswipe,” with assistance from the Louisiana State Police and the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission.

The latest sentencings mean more than 60 individuals have been charged, pleaded guilty or sentenced. The government estimates that as many as 150 staged accidents with trucks have occurred in recent years in the New Orleans area and that scammers have collected judgments totaling millions of dollars since 2015 in fraudulent lawsuits. Also, one of the scammers was murdered — allegedly because he was cooperating with authorities.

The illegal schemes allegedly were overseen by five attorneys, four of whom have not yet been named in charging documents but are “known to the grand jury,” according to court documents. One of the attorneys, Danny Keating Jr. of New Orleans, has been charged. Although Keating was charged in late 2020, he has since pleaded guilty but not been sentenced. His sentencing, set for April 25, has been postponed numerous times.


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The new indictment was the latest development in the so-called crash-for-cash schemes against unknowing truckers. Prosecutors said each of the schemes was orchestrated by a “slammer,” or driver, paid by a local attorney who filed fraudulent lawsuits against the trucking companies on behalf of the participants in the staged accidents.

Trucking companies that travel through the New Orleans area have since 2019 been alerted to the staged accidents by attorneys with trucking companies and insurance clients who were victims in the schemes. In 2019, attorneys representing victims and potential victims identified similarities among at least 30 separate cases.

Nearly all the staged accidents have included multiple people in a claimant vehicle, sideswipe allegations with commercial vehicle trailers, minimal damage to the claimant vehicle, little to no damage to the insured trailer and commercial vehicle drivers who are either unaware of or have denied fault in a crash.

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