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Press Release

Another Individual Sentenced in Federal Court for Staged Automobile Collision Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that LOIS RUSSELL (“RUSSELL”), age 63 of Gibson, Louisiana, was sentenced on April 20, 2023 after previously pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, arising out of staged automobile accidents with tractor-trailers occurring in New Orleans.

According to court documents, on March 27, 2017, RUSSELL conspired with Tanya Givens (“Givens”), John Diggs (“Diggs”) and James “Curtis” Williams (“Williams”) to stage an accident with a tractor-trailer at the intersection of Chef Menteur Highway and Downman Road.  Damien Labeaud (“Labeaud”) and Roderick Hickman (“Hickman”), who have already pleaded guilty to staging other accidents, also participated in this accident.  Hickman, while driving RUSSELL’s car, intentionally struck the 18-wheeler and then fled the scene with Labeaud.  RUSSELL advised NOPD that she was the driver.  Thereafter, RUSSELL, along with Givens, Williams, and Diggs made claims for personal injuries.  In total, the victim trucking and insurance companies paid out $272,500.00 for these fraudulent claims.

U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk sentenced RUSSELL to five (5) years probation and imposed a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.00.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also 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. Attorneys Edward J. Rivera,  Maria Carboni, and Brandon Long of the Financial Crimes Unit, as well as  Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit.

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Shane M. Jones

Public Information Officer

United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

United States Deapartment of Justice

Updated April 24, 2023

Financial Fraud