Defendants from Orleans and Jefferson Parishes Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Stage Automobile Accidents in Order to Defraud Insurance and Trucking Companies

U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Louisiana, June 16, 2021

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that DONIESHA GIBSON (“GIBSON”), age 29, of New Orleans, Louisiana and ERICA LEE THOMPSON (“ERICA LEE”), age 46, of Harvey, Louisiana, entered guilty pleas today to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, arising out of staged automobile accidents with tractor-trailers occurring in New Orleans before United States District Court Judge Sarah S. Vance.

According to today’s guilty pleas, GIBSON and ERICA LEE, along with their co-conspirators and others, beginning in approximately as early as 2015 and continuing through the present, conspired to commit wire fraud in connection with staged accidents with Cornelius Garrison, including two that occurred on October 15, 2015, and September 6, 2017. Today’s guilty pleas bring the total number of defendants convicted in “Operation Sideswipe” to twenty-two (22).

Today, GIBSON admitted to being a passenger in a staged accident on October 15, 2015. On that day, her former co-defendant intentionally drove a 2014 Dodge Avenger owned by GIBSON into a Hotard bus while traveling on the I-10 near the flyover of the I-510. GIBSON retained an attorney and thereafter made a claim for damages. The total settlement for the Hotard bus accident was approximately $677,500.

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