Three Defendants Sentenced in Vehicle Insurance Fraud Scheme
LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that three defendants in an insurance fraud scheme were sentenced and one ordered to pay more than $190,000 for staging automobile accidents in order to collect insurance payments.
Oliver Lockett, 44, of Breaux Bridge, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $193,074.86 restitution; Aleric Johnson, 50, of New Iberia, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $62,492.30 restitution; and Buddy Estelle, 53, of New Iberia, was sentenced to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Each was sentenced for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. District Judge Richard T. Haik presided over the hearings.
According to evidence presented at the guilty pleas, the defendants admitted to roles in vehicle accidents between sometime in 2003 until March 10, 2010. Lockett admitted to planning accidents where members of the scheme served either as a driver causing the accident or a witness. As a result, Lockett made multiple claims to insurance companies for property damage and personal injury. The accidents were staged in Lafayette Parish and surrounding areas.
The Louisiana State Police conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly P. Uebinger prosecuted the case.