NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans today announced that DANNY PATRICK KEATING, JR., the 52-year-old from New Orleans, Louisiana, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit email and electronic mail fraud, in violation of Title 18 of the United States Code United States, Section 371, resulting from staged car accidents with semi-trailers in New Orleans before United States District Court Chief Justice Nannette Jolivette Brown.
KEATING was the thirty-third (33rd) defendant indicted in the federal government’s investigation into the intentional staging of motor vehicle accidents with tractor-trailers and commercial vehicles in the New Orleans metropolitan area. So far, twenty-three (23) of the thirty-three (33) indicted accused have pleaded guilty in federal court.
According to today’s guilty plea, KEATING was a personal injury attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Louisiana. KEATING admitted to conspiring with Damian Labeaud and others to defraud insurance companies, commercial carriers and trucking companies in a scheme involving the intentional staging of car accidents.
Labeaud reported the staged accidents to KEATING and other New Orleans personal injury attorneys for $ 1,000.00 per passenger for accidents involving semi-trailers and $ 500.00 per passenger for accidents not involving semi-trailers. KEATING advanced thousands of dollars to Labeaud for these accidents and told Labeaud that he owed KEATING a number of accidents depending on the amount of money advanced. For example, on July 17, 2017, KEATING gave Labeaud $ 15,000.00 so that Labeaud could buy a Chase Bank cashier’s check for $ 15,000.00 to buy Mario Solomon’s truck.In addition, on September 25, 2017, KEATING wrote himself a check for $ 17,000.00 for “advertising” and used the proceeds to purchase a cashier’s check for $ 17,000.00 payable to Labeaud. The indictment alleges KEATING paid Labeaud another $ 12,500.00 in checks during the month of June 2017.
KEATING admitted having knowingly paid Labeaud for thirty-one (31) semi-trailer accidents organized illegally. KEATING represented seventy-seven (77) complainants involved in the thirty-one (31) accidents staged by Labeaud. KEATING settled seventeen (17) of the thirty-one (31) staged accidents. The indictment accused KEATING and his clients have received approximately $ 1,500,000.00 in settlement resulting from his representation of his clients involved in the staged accidents and that KEATING retained approximately $ 358,000.00 in attorney fees.
KEATING admitted he had filed lawsuits in Louisiana state and federal courts on behalf of his clients involved in the staged accidents. The lawsuits brought on behalf of the seventy-seven (77) plaintiffs fraudulently claimed who was driving the vehicles, misrepresented the person responsible for the staged accidents and falsely reported injuries. KEATING has used the U.S. Postal Service to send claims on behalf of its customers who have been involved in organized accidents from the Eastern District of Louisiana to various out-of-state locations. In many cases, customers of KEATING provided false testimony in depositions taken in conjunction with lawsuits brought by KEATING.
KEATING incurs a maximum penalty of five (5) years imprisonment, a fine of $ 250,000.00 or double the gross gain for the defendant or double the gross loss for any person of the offense under Title 18 , United States Code, Section 3571. In addition, KEATING faces a supervised release sentence of up to three (3) years after release from prison. Sentencing in this case is scheduled for January 20, 2021, before U.S. District Chief Justice Nannette Jolivette Brown.
“Fraud, whatever its scope and means of orchestration, is a serious crime. Particularly egregious is the fraud committed against the hardworking taxpayer by a member of our legal community, said U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Duane A. Evans. This guilty plea sends a clear message that our office, along with our local, state and federal partners, will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute all such corruption cases, regardless of their status.
“Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message to those who choose to engage in fraudulent schemes that have a dramatic impact on the auto and health insurance industries. They will be held accountable. Mr. Patrick Keating, a local lawyer, took an oath to abide by the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the State of Louisiana, but instead violated those laws and his oath in order to enrich himself unjustly by engaging in a scheme which resulted in the filing of fraudulent auto and medical insurance claims, “said Special Agent in Charge Douglas Williams, Jr.” I would like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Louisiana State Police and the Metropolitan Crime Commission for their partnership and outstanding work during this investigation.
The United States Attorney’s Office also wishes to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana State Police, and the Metropolitan Crime Commission for their assistance in this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant US Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Head of the Financial Crimes Unit; US Assistant Prosecutor Edward Rivera; US Deputy Prosecutor Shirin Hakimzadeh; and Deputy United States Attorney Maria Carboni.
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Salomon was an observer who worked with Labeaud in staging automobile accidents. Solomon pleaded guilty on May 28, 2020 and was sentenced on January 22, 2021.