Morgan City Woman Pleads Guilty in Staged Automobile Collision Scheme
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that GILDA HENDERSON (“HENDERSON”), age 69, of Morgan City, pled guilty on April 13, 2022 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 of up to $250,000.00, as well as a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.00. Today’s guilty plea bring the total number of defendants convicted in Operation Sideswipe to thirty-six (36).
According to court documents, HENDERSON falsely claimed that she was a passenger in a car that was struck by a tractor-trailer on May 11, 2017. In fact, the defendant conspired with Damian Labeaud (“Labeaud”), Mario Solomon (“Solomon”), and others to intentionally collide with a tractor-trailer in the area of Chef Menteur Highway and Downman Road in New Orleans. After the intentional collision, HENDERSON filed a fraudulent lawsuit claiming that the tractor-trailer was at fault and lied in a deposition. This scheme caused the insurance company for the tractor-trailer to pay over $140,000.00 in settlement funds for the May 11, 2017 collision. The Honorable Jane Triche Milazzo set sentencing in this matter for July 27, 2022.
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.