Attorney pleads guilty to role in ‘Operation Sideswipe’ scheme

A New Orleans personal injury attorney pleaded guilty to his role in a system of fraudulent auto and health insurance claims based on staged commercial vehicle accidents.

Danny Patrick Keating Jr., 52, pleaded guilty to one count of postal and wire fraud conspiracy at a federal court hearing in Louisiana on June 17. He admitted knowingly paying a co-conspirator for 31 illegally staged tractor accidents in trailers, according to a US Attorney’s release for the eastern borough of Louisiana.

Of those 31 accidents, 17 were settled out of court, and Keating and its customers received approximately $ 1.5 million, of which Keating kept $ 358,000. The lawsuits, filed on behalf of the 77 plaintiffs, fraudulently alleged who drove the vehicles, misrepresented who was responsible for the staged accidents, and falsely alleged injuries.

Keating is one of 33 defendants charged by federal investigators on a massive fraud conspiracy called “Operation Sideswipe”.

The charges stem from a federal investigation into the deliberate staging of truck and commercial vehicle accidents in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

According to court records, 23 of the 33 defendants pleaded guilty in federal court.

Under the settlement agreement, Keating admitted to conspiring with Damian Labeaud and others to defraud insurance companies, commercial hauliers and hauliers in a program that intentionally staged commercial vehicle accidents.

Court records show that Labeaud was a “leader” of the conspiracy and was often behind the wheel of cars when they deliberately collided with commercial vehicles. He pleaded guilty last year.

Labeaud would refer passengers in the vehicles to Keating and other personal injury attorneys in New Orleans for $ 1,000 per passenger for truck accidents and $ 500 per passenger for non-truck accidents.

The settlement agreement states that Keating advanced Labeaud thousands of dollars for the wreckage and instructs Labeaud that he owes Keating a certain number of crashes based on the amount of cash advanced.

Keating faces a maximum five-year prison sentence, a fine of $ 250,000, or double the gross profit for the defendant, or double the gross loss for an individual in the offense. In addition, Keating faces a prison sentence of up to three years after his release from custody. A verdict is scheduled for January 20, 2022. LL

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