11 More People Indicted For Staging Big Rig Crashes in New Orleans, Watch How It’s Done
New Orleans, LA – U.S. prosecutors announced the indictments of eleven people for allegedly attempting to defraud trucking and insurance companies by staging crashes with big rigs in the New Orleans area.
Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana revealed eleven people were charged in a seven-count federal indictment including one count of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud and six counts of Mail Fraud.
The indictments stem from an expanding probe into a ring of alleged criminal behavior whereby the defendants staged crashes with big rigs with the intent to shake down the trucking and insurance companies.
The new indictments come after the alleged ringleader, Damian Labeaud, pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this month.
In January of this year, five people connected to labeaud pleaded guilty to staging crashes with big rigs and then demanding multi-million dollar payouts.
Those also now indicted include: Roderick Hickman, 49, of Baton Rouge, LA; Lois Russell, 61, of Gibson, LA; James Williams, 65, of Gibson, LA; Tanya Givens, 42, Gibson, LA; John Diggs, 59, of Thibodaux, LA; Henry Randle, 63, of Gibson, LA; Ryan Wheaten, 52, of Lafayette, LA; Dakota Diggs, 25, of Ft. Smith, AR; Bernell Gale, 43, of Raceland, LA; Marvel Francois, 56, of Houma, LA; and Troy Smith, 56, of Houma, LA.
As for those indicted in the most recent round of charges, if convicted, they face a maximum penalty of five years for Count 1 and twenty years as to Counts 2-7, U.S. prosecutors said.
Upon their release from prison, each defendant can be placed on a term of supervised release for up to five years and fined up to $250,000 per count.
Want to see exactly how this scam works?
A local news outlet closing covering the growing problem in New Orleans takes you inside how the scam is attempted.
WATCH it below.