Husband and Wife Sentenced to 4 Years for Staged Automobile Accident Resulting in $4.7 Million Settlement

U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Louisiana, June 30, 2021

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that Anthony Robinson (“A. Robinson”), age 67, and Audrey Harris (“Harris”), age 54, of New Orleans, were sentenced today for participating in a scheme to defraud a trucking company and their insurer by staging an automobile accident with a tractor-trailer on October 13, 2015. U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle sentenced A. Robinson and Harris each to 48 months in prison.

According to documents filed in Federal Court, A. Robinson admitted to paying Damien Labeaud (“Labeaud”) $2,000.00 in cash to participate in a staged accident on October 13, 2015. A. ROBINSON arranged for his wife, Harris, his daughter, Keishira Robinson (“K. Robinson”), and his friend and neighbor, Jerry Schaffer (“Schaffer”), to go for a ride in A. Robinson’s vehicle. Prior to the accident, A. ROBINSON pulled over, exited his vehicle, and allowed Roderick Hickman (“Hickman”) to take the driver’s seat and intentionally collide with a tractor-trailer in the area of Alvar Street and France Road in New Orleans. Hickman, who previously tendered a guilty plea, acted as the “slammer” in this staged accident. After causing the collision, Hickman exited the vehicle and was picked up from the accident site by Labeaud, who acted as the “spotter” and who also previously pled guilty to his role in the larger scheme. A. Robinson, who had been in Labeaud’s vehicle during the intentional collision, then got behind the wheel of his own vehicle to make it appear that he had been driving at the time of the staged accident.

After the accident, A. Robinson, Harris, K. Robinson, and Schaffer were referred to an attorney who paid Labeaud and Hickman to stage accidents. Attorneys then referred A. Robinson and Harris to medical providers for treatment, and A. Robinson and Harris both underwent extensive medical treatment, including chiropractor treatment, injections, and eventually both neck and back surgeries. A. Robinson and Harris understood that agreeing to more medical treatment would increase the value of their lawsuit. Attorneys filed fraudulent civil lawsuits on behalf of A. Robinson, Harris, Schaffer, and K. Robinson, and they all provided false testimony in depositions taken in conjunction with the lawsuit.

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