Five more plead guilty to conspiring in auto accidents to defraud USAO-EDLA insurance and trucking companies
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that LOIS RUSSELL (“RUSSELL”), 61 years old from Gibson, Louisiana, TANYA GIVES (“GIVEN”), 43, from Gibson, Louisiana; HENRY RANDLE (“RANDLE”), 64, from Gibson, Louisiana; JOHN DIGGS (“J. DIGGS”), 60, from Thibodaux, Louisiana; and DAKOTA DIGGS (“D. DIGGS”), 25, from Ft. Smith, Arkansas, pleaded guilty today to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, resulting from auto accidents staged with semi-trailers occurring in New Orleans.
According to today’s guilty plea, March 27, 2017, RUSSELL, DONATE, and J. DIGGS conspired with passenger James “Curtis” Williams (“Williams”) to organize a crash with a tractor-trailer at the intersection of Chief Liar Highway and Downman Road. Damien Labeaud (“Labeaud”) and Roderick Hickman (“Hickman”), who have already pleaded guilty to having staged other accidents, also participated in this accident. Hickman, while driving RUSSELLof the car, intentionally struck the 18-wheeler and then fled the scene with Labeaud. RUSSELL informed NOPD that she was the driver and she, along with GIVEN and J. DIGGS, made personal injury claims. In total, the victim trucking and insurance companies paid out $ 272,500 for these fraudulent claims.
Still according to today’s guilty plea, May 17, 2017, RANDLE and D. FIGURES, along with participants Labeaud, Mario Solomon (“Solomon”) and Ryan Wheaten (“Wheaten”), participated in a staged auto accident near US Highway 90 East and Calliope Street in New Orleans. Labeaud and Salomon fled the scene. RANDLE falsely reported to NOPD that he was driving and that the semi-trailer had struck his vehicle. Shortly thereafter, Labeaud and Solomon staged a second crash near Louisa Street and Chickasaw Street with Bernell Gale (“Gale”), Troy Smith (“Smith”), Marvel Francois (“Francois”) and another passenger. Labeaud, Solomon, Wheaten, Gale, Smith and François have also been charged. Labeaud, Solomon, Gale, Smith and François have already pleaded guilty. RANDLE, D. FIGURES, and Wheaten made personal injury claims. Victim trucking and insurance companies paid out approximately $ 10,000 for these fraudulent claims.
RUSSELL, DONATE, RANDLE, J. DIGGS, and D. FIGURES incurs a maximum penalty of five (5) years. When he will be out of jail, RUSSELL, DONATE, RANDLE, J. DIGGS, and D. FIGURES also face a period of supervised release of up to (3) three years, and / or a fine of $ 250,000 or the greater of double the gross gain for each defendant or double the gross loss for anyone under Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Sentencing in this case is scheduled for September 15, 2021, before US District Judge Lance M. Africk.
The United States Attorney’s Office also wishes to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Louisiana State Police, and the Metropolitan Crime Commission in this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Edward J. Rivera, Assistant US Prosecutor Maria Carboni, Assistant US Prosecutor Shirin Hakimzadeh and Assistant US Prosecutor Brian M. Klebba, Head of the Financial Crimes Unit.