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Press Release

Houma Man Pleads Guilty in 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 on November 28, 2022, JOSEPH BREWTON (“BREWTON”), age 56, of Houma, Louisiana, pled guilty to a count one (1) of his indictment, charging him with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.  In exchange for his plea of guilty, the government has agreed to dismiss five counts of Mail Fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 2.  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, 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 42.

According to court documents, BREWTON served as a passenger in a staged automobile collision in August of 2015.  Thereafter, he recruited family members and friends to participate in staged automobile collisions with tractor-trailers on March 27, 2017 and May 11, 2017.  The passengers in these collisions filed fraudulent lawsuits that falsely claimed that the tractor-trailers were at fault.  Through this scheme, BREWTON caused a loss of approximately $392,742.77.  The Honorable Jane Triche Milazzo set sentencing in this matter for March 1, 2023.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Louisiana State Police, and the Metropolitan Crime Commission with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria M. Carboni; Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit; Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Rivera; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon S. Long.

Updated November 29, 2022

Financial Fraud