New Orleans Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Stage Automobile Accidents in Order to Defraud Insurance and Trucking Companies

Published 1:39 pm Saturday, December 11, 2021

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that CHANDRIKA BROWN (“BROWN”), age 30, of New Orleans, Louisiana, entered a plea of guilty today to 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 today’s guilty plea, BROWN, along with her co-defendants, Doniesha Gibson (Gibson), of New Orleans, Louisiana; and Ishais Price (Price), of New Orleans, and a co-defendant driver conspired to commit mail fraud in connection with a staged accident with a co-defendant driver. Today’s guilty plea brings the total number of defendants convicted in “Operation Sideswipe” to twenty-nine (29).

According to court documents, BROWN claimed that on October 15, 2015, she was a passenger in a 2014 Dodge Avenger owned and driven by Gibson that was hit by a Hotard bus while traveling on the I-10 near the flyover of the I-510.  Also in the vehicle was defendant Price.  In truth, a co-defendant asked Gibson to recruit Brown and Price to ride along as a passenger and he then intentionally sought out a commercial vehicle to intentionally hit. After the staged accident, the co-defendant driver switched seats with Gibson, and they called the N.O.P.D.  Gibson, along with the passengers, falsely stated that the Hotard bus illegally changed lanes and caused the accident. Thereafter, BROWN, Gibson, Price, and the co-defendant driver each retained counsel and made demands against Hotard’s owner and insurer for personal injury damages. As a result of the claims, the insurer utilized the U.S. mails to send the settlement drafts to BROWN, Gibson, Price, and the co-defendant driver’s counsel. The total settlement for the Hotard bus accident was approximately $677,500.

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BROWN faces a maximum sentence of up to five (5) years of incarceration. Upon release from prison, BROWN also faces a term of supervised release of up to (3) three years, and/or a fine of up to $250,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person under Title 18, United States Code, Section 3571, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee. Sentencing in this matter is scheduled for February 16, 2022, before United States District Judge Sarah S. Vance.

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.