Marrero Man Sentenced for Conspiring to Stage Automobile Accidents in Order to Defraud Insurance and Trucking Companies

Published 4:23 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that DEWAYNE COLEMAN (“COLEMAN”), age 22, of Marrero, Louisiana, was sentenced today for Conspiracy to Commit Mail 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, COLEMAN, along with his co-defendants, conspired to commit mail fraud in connection with a staged accident occurring on September 6, 2017.  Thus far, the total number of defendants convicted in “Operation Sideswipe” is thirty-two (32).

COLEMAN admitted that on September 6, 2017, on the I-10 near the Almonaster exit, he was a passenger in co-defendant Erica Lee’s 2015 RAV4 being driven by their former co-defendant, when he intentionally crashed into a tractor-trailer owned by Averitt Express.  After the staged accident, the driver exited the RAV4 and told Erica Lee to get behind the wheel of the RAV4 to make it appear that Erica Lee was driving the vehicle at the time of the staged accident.  The defendants contacted the NOPD and falsely claimed that Erica Lee was the driver at the time of the collision.  COLEMAN retained counsel and made a claim for damages. The total settlement for the Averitt accident was $30,000.

On March 26, 2019, COLEMAN provided false testimony in depositions taken in conjunction with the Thompson Lawsuit.  In his deposition, COLEMAN lied about the September 6, 2017 accident including, but not limited to, who was driving the RAV4 and the extent of their injuries.

United States District Judge Sarah S. Vance sentenced COLEMAN to (12) twelve months of incarceration, followed by (3) three years supervised release, $ 121,076 in restitution, 100 hours of community service and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee.

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, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit; Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Rivera; Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carboni; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Long.