Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Eastern District of Louisiana

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that DONISESHA LEE, a/k/a DONISHA LEE (“DONISHA LEE”), age 32, of Harvey, Louisiana, was sentenced today for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, by United States District Court Judge Sarah S. Vance, arising out of a staged automobile collision with a tractor-trailer occurring in New Orleans.

According to documents filed in federal court, DONISHA LEE, along with her co-defendants, Dewayne Coleman (“Coleman”), Erica Lee Thompson (“Erica Lee”), Aisha Thompson (“Thompson”), Passenger A, and another individual, conspired to commit mail fraud in connection with a staged collision with their former co-defendant, occurring on September 6, 2017.  Thus far, the total number of defendants convicted in “Operation Sideswipe” is thirty-seven (37).

DONISHA LEE admitted that on September 6, 2017, on the I-10 near the Almonaster exit, she was a passenger in Erica Lee’s 2015 RAV4 being driven by their former co-defendant, when he intentionally crashed into a tractor-trailer owned by Averitt Express.  After the staged accident, the driver exited the RAV4 and told Erica Lee to get behind the wheel of the RAV4 to make it appear that Erica Lee was driving the vehicle at the time of the staged accident.  The defendants contacted the NOPD and falsely claimed that Erica Lee was the driver at the time of the collision.  Passenger A falsely claimed to the NOPD that she was Thompson.

Approximately one or two days after the staged accident, Coleman, DONISHA LEE,  Erica Lee, Thompson, and another individual went to an attorney’s office for the purpose of collecting money from the insurance and trucking company.  Coleman, DONISHA LEE, Erica Lee, Thompson, and another individual sought medical treatment from doctors and healthcare providers.  Thompson was treated despite not being in the RAV4 at the time of the staged accident. DONISHA LEE retained counsel and made a claim for damages.  The total settlement for the Averitt accident was $30,000.

On March 26, 2019, DONISHA LEE, and two of her co-defendants, provided false testimony in depositions taken in conjunction with the Thompson Lawsuit.  On April 9, 2019, Thompson provided false testimony in a deposition taken in conjunction with the Thompson Lawsuit.  In these depositions, DONISHA LEE, and her co-defendants, lied about the September 6, 2017 accident including, but not limited to, who was driving the RAV4 and the extent of their injuries.

United States District Court Judge Sarah S. Vance sentenced DONISHA LEE to 10 months imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, 100 hours community service, restitution in the amount of $121,076.75, and a $100.00 special assessment fee.

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.