May 29, 2020
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced MARIO SOLOMON (“SOLOMON”), age 48, of New Orleans, entered a plea of guilty on May 28, 2020 to Conspiracy to Commit Wire 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 the guilty plea, SOLOMON, along with his co-conspirators and others, beginning in approximately June 2017 and continuing through the present, conspired to commit wire fraud in connection with staged accidents, including two that occurred on June 6, 2017, and June 12, 2017. Previously, on January, 30, 2020, five of SOLOMON’s codefendants (Larry Williams, Lucinda Thomas, Mary Wade, Judy Williams, and Dashontae Young) all tendered guilty pleas and admitted to their knowing participation in a scheme to stage automobile accidents in the New Orleans area in an effort to defraud insurance and trucking companies.
SOLOMON admitted to acting as a “spotter” for a codefendant in both the June 6 and the June 12 staged automobile accidents alleged in the Superseding Indictment. As a “spotter,” SOLOMON would follow his codefendant in a separate vehicle as his codefendant prepared to stage accidents with 18-wheeler tractor-trailers. After the accidents, SOLOMON would pick up the codefendant after he exited the vehicle in which he had staged an accident. SOLOMON was paid in exchange for serving as a “spotter.” According to today’s guilty plea, SOLOMON served as a spotter in at least two car accidents that his codefendant staged with 18-wheeler tractor-trailers. SOLOMON’s codefendants received a total of $43,000 as a result of the fraudulent lawsuits that were filed on their behalf.
SOLOMON faces a maximum sentence of five (5) years. Upon release from prison, SOLOMON also faces a term of supervised release up to (3) three years, and/or a fine of $250,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain to each defendant or twice the gross loss to any person under Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Sentencing in this matter is scheduled to occur on September 17, 2020 before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon.
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, Supervisor of the Financial Crimes Unit; Assistant U.S. Attorney Shirin Hakimzadeh; Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Rivera; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carboni.