Three More Sentenced for Conspiring to Stage Automobile Accidents in Order to Defraud Insurance and Trucking Companies

US Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana, Jan. 23, 2023

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that LUCINDA THOMAS (“THOMAS”), age 67; MARY WADE (“WADE”), age 58; and JUDY WILLIAMS (“WILLIAMS”), age 62, all of Houma, Louisiana, were sentenced on January 19, 2023 for 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.

According to documents filed in federal court, on June 6, 2017, THOMAS, WADE, WILLIAMS, and co-defendant Dashontae Young (“Young”) drove from Houma, LA, to meet with Damian Labeaud (“Labeaud”), for the purpose of staging an automobile accident in order to obtain money through fraud. After their meeting, THOMAS, WADE, 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, WILLIAMS, and Young contacted the NOPD and falsely reported that THOMAS had been the driver of the Avalanche and that the tractor-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.

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Note:  SSA Greg Rudell has a case related to this investigation.