U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Louisiana, November 5, 2020
United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced today the Indictment of DANNY PATRICK KEATING, Jr., age 51, of New Orleans, Louisiana, who was charged in a one-count federal indictment with Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. If convicted, KEATING faces a maximum term of five (5) years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000.00 or twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person of the offense under Title 18, United States Code, Section 3571. In addition, KEATING faces a term of supervised release up to three (3) years after his release from prison.
KEATING constitutes the thirty-third (33rd) defendant charged in the Government’s federal probe into the intentional staging of motor vehicle accidents with tractor-trailers and commercial vehicles in the metropolitan New Orleans area. Thus far, eleven (11) of the 33 indicted defendants have tendered guilty pleas in federal court.
According to today’s Indictment, KEATING was a personal injury attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Louisiana. KEATING was charged with conspiring with Damian Labeaud and others to defraud insurance companies, commercial carriers, and trucking companies in a scheme involving intentionally staging automobile accidents.
Labeaud referred staged accidents to KEATING and other New Orleans personal injury attorneys referenced in the Indictment as Attorneys A, B, and C, for $1,000.00 per passenger for accidents involving tractor-trailers and $500.00 per passenger for accidents not involving tractor-trailers. KEATING advanced Labeaud thousands of dollars for these accidents and instructed Labeaud that he owed KEATING a certain number of accidents based on the amount of money advanced. For instance, on July 17, 2017, KEATING gave Labeaud $15,000.00 so Labeaud could purchase a $15,000.00 Chase Bank cashier’s check to buy Mario Solomon’s truck. Additionally, on September 25, 2017, KEATING wrote a $17,000.00 to himself for “advertising” and used the proceeds to purchase a $17,000.00 cashier’s check payable to Labeaud. The Indictment alleges KEATING paid Labeaud another $12,500.00 in checks during the month of June 2017.
KEATING knowingly paid Labeaud for thirty-one (31) illegally staged tractor-trailer accidents. KEATING represented 77 plaintiffs involved in the 31 accidents staged by Labeaud. KEATING settled 17 of the 31 staged accidents. The Indictment charges that KEATING and his 77 clients received approximately $1,500,000.00 in settlement resulting from his representation of his clients involved in the staged accidents and that KEATING kept approximately $358,000.00 in attorney’s fees.
The Indictment alleges that Labeaud and KEATING sometimes discussed the staging of accidents before they happened and communicated via coded language regarding staging accidents. KEATING discussed with Labeaud about changing the locations of the staged accidents, varying the number of passengers, avoiding talking to the police, and avoiding cameras. KEATING also discussed with his clients in the staged accidents that they would likely receive more money in settlement if they received medical treatment.
KEATING filed lawsuits in state and federal court in Louisiana on behalf of his clients who were involved in the staged accidents. The lawsuits filed on behalf of the 77 plaintiffs fraudulently alleged who was driving the vehicles, misrepresented who was at fault in the staged accidents, and falsely claimed injuries. KEATING used the U.S Postal Service to mail settlement demands on behalf of his clients who were involved in staged accidents from the Eastern District of Louisiana to various out-of-state locations. In many cases, clients of KEATING provided false testimony in depositions taken in conjunction with lawsuits filed by KEATING.
”Mr. Keating was supposed to uphold the law rather than manipulate it to benefit himself and other co-conspirators financially”, said FBI Special Agent in Charge Bryan Vorndran. “This indictment is the culmination of an investigation conducted by Special Agents and Intelligence Analysts who worked tirelessly to bring Mr. Keating to justice and is one of many in this case that hopefully will deter others from fraudulently filing false auto and medical insurance claims.”
U.S. Attorney Strasser reiterated that the indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also 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 Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carboni.