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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 17, 2022

New Orleans Woman Pleads Guilty in Staged Automobile Collision Scheme

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that LATRELL JOHNSON (“JOHNSON”), age 30, of New Orleans, pled guilty on March 16, 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 exchange, the government has agreed to dismiss two 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 up to 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 brings the total number of defendants convicted in Operation Sideswipe to 31.

According to court documents, JOHNSON 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, JOHNSON 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 13, 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.

 

Updated March 17, 2022