Two From Louisiana Sentenced in Separate Staged Automobile Collision Scheme Cases 

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Published February 07, 2023

Two From Louisiana Sentenced in Separate Staged Automobile Collision Scheme Cases 

Louisiana – Two from Louisiana have been sentenced in separate cases involving staged automobile collision schemes. 

Ashley McGowan (“McGowan”), age 36, was sentenced on February 1, 2023, by U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance to 24 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Judge Vance also imposed $545,000 in restitution and a $100 mandatory special assessment.

McGowan admitted to participating in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with a staged automobile collision, according to court documents. McGowan used the scheme to falsely claim that she was a passenger in a car that was hit by a tractor-trailer on June 8, 2016. McGowan, in fact, conspired with Damien Labeaud (“Labeaud”), Keishira Robinson (“K. Robinson”), Lertrice Johnson (“L. Johnson”), Davienque Johnson (“D. Johnson”), and others to intentionally collide K. Robinson’s Mazda with a tractor-trailer near Chickasaw and Louisa Streets in New Orleans. McGowan later lied in her civil deposition, claiming that K. Robinson was driving the car that collided with the tractor-trailer when, in fact, Labeaud was driving the car and purposefully collided with the tractor-trailer. McGowan also falsely claimed that she was in the car at the time of the collision, despite the fact that she was in a separate getaway car and only entered the “slammer” car after the collision. McGowan and her co-conspirators were able to obtain a $545,000 monetary settlement from the tractor-trailer’s owner and insurer thanks to their false statements and deception.


In a similar case, Dashontae Young (“Young”), 28, of Houma, Louisiana, was sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, arising from a staged automobile accident with a tractor-trailer in New Orleans, Louisiana.

According to court documents, on June 6, 2017, Young and co-defendants Lucinda Thomas (“Thomas”), Mary Wade (“Wade”), and Judy Williams (“Williams”) drove from Houma, LA, to meet with Damian Labeaud (“Labeaud”) to stage an automobile accident in order to obtain money through fraud. Following the meeting, Thomas, Wade, Williams, and Young agreed to let Labeaud drive Thomas’ 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche. The defendants then drove around New Orleans’ Chef Menteur Highway and Downman Road until they came across a 2017 Freightliner tractor-trailer. Labeaud intentionally collided with the tractor-trailer around 12:30 p.m. Labeaud then exited Thomas’ vehicle and instructed Thomas to get behind the wheel of Thomas’ Avalanche in order to make it appear as if Thomas was driving at the time of the staged accident.

Thomas, Wade, Williams, and Young called the NOPD and falsely claimed that Thomas was the driver of the Avalanche and that the tractor-trailer had hit her car. Labeaud then returned to the scene and falsely stated to the NOPD that he witnessed the accident and that the tractor-trailer driver was at fault.

Labeaud contacted attorney Patrick Keating (“Keating”) before and after the staged accident and arranged a meeting with Thomas, Wade, Williams, and Young at a fast food restaurant on Chef Menteur Highway. Keating then filed two state court lawsuits, which were removed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Thomas, Wade, and Williams all admitted to giving false testimony in depositions taken in connection with Keating’s lawsuits. Thomas, Wade, and Williams eventually settled their cases for $7,500.00 each, but only after a year of pursuing their fraudulent lawsuits.

Young was sentenced to five (5) years probation, $43,000.00 in restitution, and a $100.00 mandatory special assessment fee by U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon.

The United States Attorney’s Office would also like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana State Police, and the Metropolitan Crime Commission for their assistance with this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carboni, Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Rivera, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Long are prosecuting this case.