Two Plead Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Connected to Scheme to Defraud The Department of Veteran Affairs
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that DAVIENQUE JOHNSON (“JOHNSON”), age 28; pled guilty to Count one (1) of her indictment, charging Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. In pleading guilty to Count 1, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of five (5) years’ imprisonment; a term of supervised release of up to three (3) years; and a fine up to $250,000.00, or the greater of twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person under Title 18, United States Code, Section 3571, as well as a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.00. Today’s guilty plea brings the total number of defendants convicted in Operation Sideswipe to thirty-five (35).
As part of her plea, JOHNSON admitted her involvement in a scheme to falsely claim she was a passenger in a car that was struck by a tractor-trailer on June 8, 2016. In fact, the government’s evidence showed that the defendant conspired with Damien Labeaud (“Labeaud”), Keishira Robinson (“K. Robinson”), and others to intentionally collide K. Robinson’s Mazda with a tractor-trailer in the area of Chickasaw Street and Louisa Street in New Orleans. JOHNSON later lied in her civil deposition, falsely claiming that K. Robinson was driving the car that collided with the tractor-trailer, when in fact Labeaud was driving the car and intentionally hit the tractor-trailer. JOHNSON had relocated from the back row of the Mazda to the front passenger seat after the collision. JOHNSON hoped that, through her false statements, she would secure lucrative monetary settlements from the owner, driver, and insurer of the tractor-trailer. Her case was later settled, which resulted in the mailing of a settlement check.
Sentencing in this matter is set for July 13, 2022, before United States District Judge Sarah S. Vance.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office would 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 Brandon S. Long; Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit; Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria M. Carboni; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Rivera.