A Louisiana court has ordered a defendant to reimburse millions of dollars paid out as part of a sprawling staged crash scheme targeting truckers in the New Orleans area.
On April 20, 2022, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana announced sentencing for Keishira Robinson, 27, for her role in “Operation Sideswipe,” a scheme to stage automobile accidents in New Orleans in order to defraud insurance and trucking companies.
Robinson was convicted on a charge of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud.
Robinson was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $4,725,000 in restitution.
Authorities say that on October 13, 2015, Keishira Robinson was in a vehicle with defendants Anthony Robinson, who is her father; Audrey Harris, Anthony’s wife; and Jerry Schaffer, the Robinson’s neighbor.
Prior to the staged crash, Anthony Robinson pulled over, exited the vehicle and allowed “slammer” Roderick Hickman to take the wheel. Hickman intentionally crashed into a C.R. England semi truck in the area of Alvar Street and France Road in New Orleans. After the crash, Hickman was picked up from the scene by Damian Labeaud, while Anthony Robinson, who owned the car, got back behind the wheel. Anthony Robinson told police that he had been driving when the crash occurred and that the semi driver had hit his vehicle when he’d actually been in Lebeaud’s vehicle when the crash occurred.
Keishira Robinson, Anthony Robinson, Harris, and Schaffer were referred to an attorney who paid Labeaud for staging this accident, among others. All of the defendants were treated by doctors and healthcare providers at the direction of their attorneys, and Anthony Robinson, Harris, and Schaffer underwent surgeries.
In July 2019, trucking and insurance companies paid out $4.7 million for the fraudulent claims resulting from the October 13, 2015 staged crash.
Both Labeaud and Hickman have pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the crash scheme.
Anthony Robinson and Harris were both previously sentenced to 48 months in prison for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud. At this sentencing, Ivan L.R. Lemelle told Anthony Robinson and Harris that they and their co-conspirators would be held jointly and severally liable for restitution in the total amount of $5,073,358.25.
So far, 36 people have been convicted in connection with the staged crash scheme.