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Prominent New Orleans lawyer pleads guilty to role in insurance scam detailed in 'Highway Robbery' investigation

The scheme was first detailed in the Eyewitness News Investigative Series “Highway Robbery.”
Credit: WWLTV

NEW ORLEANS — A prominent New Orleans attorney pleaded guilty to wire and mail fraud conspiracy, admitting to his role in an insurance scam first detailed in WWL-TV's "Highway Robbery" investigation.

Daniel Patrick Keating, 52, pleaded guilty to his role in a state-wide scheme where drivers intentionally crash into 18-wheelers to score big insurance payouts.

Keating, a longtime personal injury attorney, was indicted in connection with four specific staged accidents between March and June of 2017. 

Overall, Keating is accused of working with convicted felon Damian Labeaud in at least 31 manufactured accidents that led to about $1.5-million in tainted lawsuit settlements. Labeaud previously pleaded guilty to being an organizer of the manufactured accidents and is presumed to be cooperating with authorities.

Authorities say the scam involves people packing into a car, intentionally sideswiping an 18-wheeler, then claiming injuries in a lawsuit that would usually be settled by insurance companies.

The scam is costly to anyone who has car insurance by driving up rates. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon calculated that fraud adds $600 a year to the insurance costs of every Louisiana policy-holder.