3 sentenced in big insurance fraud scheme to stage crashes

April 23, 2022 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Three Louisiana women have been ordered to repay a total of $5.5 million to companies defrauded in a scheme to stage wrecks.

Keishira Richardson, 27, Chandrika Brown, 31, and Aisha Thompson, 44, are among 36 people convicted so far in what authorities have called “Operation Sideswipe,” news releases said.

Each was sentenced Wednesday on one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Richardson was sentenced to five years on probation and ordered to pay $4.7 million in restitution. That’s the total paid to settle claims made by her and others for one crash staged on Oct 13, 2015.

Richardson’s father, Anthony Robinson, and his wife, Audrey Harris, were each sentenced in June to four years in prison on the same charge for that crash. They both underwent extensive medical treatment, neck and back surgeries, because they “understood that agreeing to more medical treatment would increase the value of their lawsuit,” according to a news release about their sentence.

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U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle, who also sentenced Keishira Robinson, told her father and Harris that they and their codefendants would be responsible for paying $5 million including the companies’ attorneys fees.

U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance sentenced Thompson to 18 months in prison and restitution of $677,500 — the total paid in claims to several people involved in a crash with a tour bus on Oct. 15, 2015.

Vance ordered Brown to put in 100 hours community service and pay $121,000 restitution. Although Brown wasn’t in a RAV4 that hit a tractor-trailer on Sept. 6, 2017, she hired a lawyer, put in a claim for injuries and received medical treatment, a news release said.