Louisiana Men Sentenced for Staging Accidents to Defraud Insurance, Trucking Companies


John Diggs, 62, of Thibodaux, LA, and James Williams, 68, of Gibson, LA, were both sentenced Feb. 14 to 10 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Lance M. Africk after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, arising out of staged automobile accidents with tractor-trailers occurring in New Orleans.

The announcement was made Feb. 16 by U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.

According to court records, Diggs and Williams conspired with passengers Lois Russell and Tanya Givens to stage an accident with a tractor-trailer at the intersection of Chef Menteur Highway and Downman Road. Damien Labeaud and Roderick Hickman, who have already pleaded guilty to staging other accidents, also participated in this accident.

Hickman, while driving Russell’s car, intentionally struck the 18-wheeler and then fled the scene with Labeaud. Russell told NOPD she was the driver and she, along with Givens, Diggs and Williams, made claims for personal injuries. In total, the victim trucking and insurance companies paid out $272,500 for these fraudulent claims.

In addition to prison, Diggs and Williams were both sentenced to three years of supervised release and a restitution hearing was set for April 5. Africk also imposed upon each a $100 mandatory special assessment fee.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the FBI, Louisiana State Police and the Metropolitan Crime Commission with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Rivera, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carboni, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Long and Unit Chief Brian M. Klebba, all of the Financial Crimes Unit.

Source: U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of Louisiana

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