NEW ORLEANS — Two people have pleaded guilty in a scheme to commit mail fraud in connection with a staged collision involving a tractor-trailer.
Herbert Allen, 37, and Dion Ridley, 23, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
As part of their plea, the pair admitted to conspiring to commit mail fraud in connection with a staged vehicle collision.
The guilty pleas of Allen and Ridley bring the number of defendants convicted in Operation Sideswipe to 41. The Operation Sideswipe scheme involved an elaborate network of “spotters” and “slammers” who helped recruit individuals to deliberately crash into commercial motor vehicles and then sue for personal injury damages.
As part of the scheme, Allen falsely claimed that he was the driver of a car that was struck by a tractor-trailer on June 28, 2017. Ridley, the passenger, falsely claimed that Allen was driving the car when they were struck by a tractor-trailer.
The government’s evidence showed that Allen and Ridley conspired with others in a scheme to intentionally collide Allen’s 2007 Chevrolet Impala, which would be driven by co-conspirator Roderick Hickman, with a tractor-trailer around Tchoupitoulas and Calliope Streets in New Orleans. The defendants’ alleged goal was to secure lucrative monetary settlements from the owner, driver and insurer of the tractor-trailer.
Allen and Ridley are accused of lying in civil depositions and falsely claiming Allen was driving the car.
Allen and Ridley will be sentenced on Feb. 15, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance. Allen and Ridley face a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, supervised release up to three years and a fine of up to $250,000.
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