NEWS Louisiana reopens truck accident case; 2 more plead guilty

Louisiana reopens truck accident case; 2 more plead guilty

Remember the accident scam and investigation in Louisiana? It’s working again.

After months of no news on indictments, guilty pleas or sentences, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana announced two recent guilty pleas this week.

But neither is what is expected to remain the most important part of the case: the indictment of more lawyers allegedly involved in orchestrating the scheme.

In two separate but similar developments this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced two guilty pleas related to conspiracy to obtain insurance payments by colliding with trucks in and around New Orleans. (In one case, a passenger car was hit.)

In one case, Florence Randle late last month pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Four other mail fraud charges were dismissed as a result of her plea.

In the second case, Joseph Brewton also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Five counts of mail fraud against Bruton were dismissed as part of the guilty plea.

All of the charges against the now 43 people, dubbed “Operation Sideswipe” by U.S. Attorneys, face charges related to mail fraud.

Both Brewton and Randle face up to five years in prison and up to three years of supervised release, but not as long as the defendants have served in prison. A husband-and-wife team active in a staged collision scheme were jailed for four years last year in the longest sentence possible. Some people just leave on probation.

Randall’s guilty plea shows a wide age range of participants who either helped cause the accident or were in a car that was about to be hit. There were pleas from those under the age of 20. Randall, by comparison, is 70 years old. (Bruton is 56.)

The two guilty pleas announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office are believed to be the first public developments since July.

But all of the sentences and guilty pleas this year involved people who were in the car that hit the truck or who planned the collision. The number of charges and pleas against an attorney who was also involved in the planning and subsequent fraud proceedings after the accident remains one: Danny Keating, who pleaded guilty in June 2021 but was not sentenced.

Documents in various court proceedings identified at least five other attorneys involved in the planning, identified only as Attorney A, who was run through Attorney E.

The medics were also not accused of performing unnecessary procedures to help increase the amount that participants whose cars were hit by the truck could claim against the carrier and its insurer, the documents show.

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