A Total of Eight Now Indicted In Insurance Fraud Scheme Involving Staged Accidents
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced today the Superseding Indictment charging three additional defendants: GENETTA ISREAL (“ISREAL”), age 51, of Houston, Texas; MARIO SOLOMON (“SOLOMON”), age 48, of New Orleans; and LARRY WILLIAMS (“LARRY WILLIAMS”), age 46, also of New Orleans. Previously, the following five defendants were indicted: DAMIAN K. LABEAUD (“LABEAUD”), age 47, of New Orleans; LUCINDA THOMAS (“THOMAS”), age 63; MARY WADE (“WADE”), age 55; JUDY WILLIAMS (“JUDY WILLIAMS”), age 59; and DASHONTAE YOUNG (“YOUNG”), age 25; all of Houma, Louisiana.
The Superseding Indictment adds three new defendants, expands the conspiracy, adds two new counts of wire fraud, and charges an entirely new staged accident that occurred on June 12, 2017.
According to the Superseding Indictment, before on or about June 6, 2017, Attorney A and LABEAUD met at a restaurant in New Orleans. During their meeting, Attorney A and LABEAUD agreed that Attorney A would pay LABEAUD $1,000 per passenger for staged and legitimate accidents with tractor-trailers. Attorney A and LABEAUD agreed that Attorney A would pay $500 per passenger for staged and legitimate accidents that did not involve tractor-trailers. The Grand Jury alleges that Attorney A knew LABEAUD was staging accidents and Attorney A paid LABEAUD for at least forty (40) illegally staged automobile accidents. In addition, LABEAUD and Attorney A would discuss the staging of accidents before they happened. Attorney A also directed LABEAUD to change the locations of the staged accidents, to vary the number of passengers, to avoid talking to the police, and to avoid cameras. Attorney A would advance LABEAUD thousands of dollars for accidents and would instruct LABEAUD that he owed Attorney A a certain number of accidents based on the amount of money advanced.
LABEAUD, SOLOMON, LARRY WILLIAMS, and ISREAL are charged with staging an accident on June 12, 2017, that occurred on Chef Mentuer Highway near the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. According to the Superseding Indictment, LABEAUD and LARRY WILLIAMS planned to stage an automobile accident to obtain money through fraud. During their planning, LABEAUD told LARRY WILLIAMS that he had an Attorney who would handle everything. The Superseding Indictment alleges that LARRY WILLIAMS recruited ISREAL and another individual (now deceased) to participate in the fraudulent scheme, that LARRY WILLIAMS borrowed a Chevrolet Trailblazer, and that LABEAUD operated the Trailblazer to collide with a 2015 Peterbilt tractor-trailer. After the staged accident, LABEAUD fled the scene and LARRY WILLIAMS got behind the wheel to make it appear that he was operating the Trailblazer during the staged accident. SOLOMON picked up LABEAUD after the staged accident. LARRY WILLIAMS told the New Orleans Police Department (“NOPD”) that he was the driver of the Trailblazer and that the tractor-trailer was at fault. After the staged accident, LABEAUD introduced LARRY WILLIAMS and ISREAL to Attorney A.
The Superseding Indictment alleges that LARRY WILLIAMS and ISREAL were treated by doctors and healthcare providers at the direction of Attorney A. Attorney A told LARRY WILLIAMS that he would get more money if he had shoulder surgery. On June 12, 2018, Attorney A’s law partner, Attorney B, filed the Larry Williams Lawsuit in Civil District Court (“CDC”) for the Parish of Orleans and on September 14, 2018, Attorney B demanded approximately $60,000.00 in settlement for the deceased passenger and approximately $56,155.00 in settlement for ISREAL. After the suit was filed, LARRY WILLIAMS and ISREAL each provided false testimony in depositions taken in conjunction with the lawsuit filed by Attorney B.
According to the Superseding Indictment and as previously alleged, on June 6, 2017, THOMAS, WADE, JUDY WILLIAMS, and YOUNG drove from Houma, LA, to meet with LABEAUD for the purpose of staging an automobile accident in order to obtain money through fraud. After their meeting, THOMAS, WADE, JUDY WILLIAMS, and YOUNG agreed to allow LABEAUD to drive THOMAS’ 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche vehicle. The defendants then drove around the vicinity of Chef Menteur Highway and Downman Road of New Orleans until they located a 2017 Freightliner tractor-trailer operated by an Arkansas trucking company. At approximately 12:30 P.M., LABEAUD intentionally collided with the tractor-trailer. LABEAUD then exited THOMAS’ vehicle and instructed THOMAS to get behind the wheel of THOMAS’ Avalanche to make it appear that THOMAS was driving the vehicle at the time of the staged accident.
THOMAS, WADE, JUDY WILLIAMS, and YOUNG contacted the NOPD and falsely reported that THOMAS had been the driver of the Avalanche and that the traitor-trailer had struck her vehicle. LABEAUD then returned to the scene and also made false statements to the NOPD that he had witnessed the accident and that the driver of the tractor-trailer had been at fault.
According to the Superseding Indictment, before and after the staged accident, LABEAUD contacted Attorney A and arranged a meeting with THOMAS, WADE, JUDY WILLIAMS, and YOUNG at a fast food restaurant on Chef Menteur Highway. It is further alleged that Attorney A paid LABEAUD $7,500.00 on the day of the staged accident. Attorney A then demanded approximately $1,000,000.00 per plaintiff in settlement for THOMAS, WADE, and JUDY WILLIAMS. Attorney A then filed two lawsuits in CDC. Both of the lawsuits filed in CDC by Attorney A were removed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The Superseding Indictment alleges that THOMAS, WADE, and JUDY WILLIAMS each provided false testimony in various depositions taken in conjunction with the lawsuits filed by Attorney A.
The Superseding Indictment now additionally alleges that Attorney A contacted LABEAUD because Attorney A was worried about a telephone call made by WADE to LABEAUD prior to the staged accident and Attorney A instructed LABEAUD to contact THOMAS and WADE to instruct them to “get their stories straight.” During a subsequent meeting, Attorney A gave LABEAUD an envelope containing phone records, pleadings, and depositions establishing THOMAS and WADE lied under oath in their September 13, 2018 depositions. Attorney A then met with THOMAS and WADE at a fast-food restaurant outside of New Orleans where Attorney A suggested to THOMAS and WADE a fraudulent scenario to explain a telephone call from WADE to LABEAUD prior to the staged accident.
On or about April 9, 2019, THOMAS, WADE, and JUDY WILLIAMS each provided false testimony in depositions taken in conjunction with the lawsuits filed by Attorney A. Ultimately, but only after a year of pursuing their fraudulent lawsuits, did THOMAS, WADE, and JUDY WILLIAMS settle their cases for $7,500.00 each.
These eight defendants are charged in an eight-count Superseding Indictment. Defendants LABEAUD and SOLOMON are charged with one (1) count of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud (“Conspiracy Count”) in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 and seven (7) counts of Wire Fraud (“Wire Fraud Counts”) in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. THOMAS, WADE, JUDY WILLIAMS, and YOUNG are charged in the Conspiracy Count and six Wire Fraud Counts. ISREAL and LARRY WILLIAMS are charged in the Conspiracy Count and two Wire Fraud Counts. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of five (5) years for Count 1 and twenty (20) years as to Counts 2-8. Upon their release from prison, each defendant can be placed on a term of supervised release up to three (3) years and fined up to $250,000.00 per count.
All eight defendants were ordered to appear for an initial appearance and arraignment on this Superseding Indictment.
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 Brian M. Klebba, Supervisor of the Financial Crimes Unit; Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Rivera; Assistant U.S. Attorney Shirin Hakimzadeh; and Trial Attorney Jared Hasten of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Fraud Section, Health Care Fraud Unit.