Posted: Dec 4, 2012 3:46 PM by Russell Jones
Updated: Dec 4, 2012 6:48 PM
Source: Louisiana State Police
BATON ROUGE - Authorities in Louisiana said today they've busted a counterfeit check ring which victimized hundreds of people, and was apparently run using financial data stolen from the LSU Hospital System.
Law enforcement agencies arrested seven people so far for being connected to the ring, and said they're still working to identify all its victims.
Investigators said they've identified more than 400 victims so far from 12 different states, all of whom wrote checks to the LSU Hospital System. State Police said today financial information was taken by a hospital employee, Pamela Reams, who used it to make fake IDs and checks which she then used and sold to another Baton Rouge woman, Tammy Matthews.
Investigators in Washington Parish were first tipped off to the ring after several complaints from residents to the sheriff's office. Detectives there said surveillance video showed four women passing various counterfeit checks at parish stores, one of whom was ID'd as Reams. Authorities arrested the other three women, Meshaune Wilson, Lisa Haynes and Valencia Paul, in Plaquemine on Nov. 8 while they were trying to pass a fake check. They said the women also had numerous counterfeit checks, stolen bank account numbers and counterfeit state ID cards on them when they were arrested.
Investigators learned those three purchased the IDs and checks from Matthews. That led Washington Parish Sheriff's deputies, State Police and Secret Service agents to search Reams and Matthews' homes on Nov. 20, where they said they found scanned hospital documents and fake state ID cards, as well as equipment to print ID cards and checks and documents with several handwritten Social Security numbers on them.
Detectives said Reams confessed to stealing the information from the LSU Hospital System, where she worked in the billing department and had access to several financial databases. She said she would make fake IDs and counterfeit checks with the stolen information, then sell them to Matthews.
Detectives in East Baton Rouge Parish also arrested Ream's sister, Lisa Anderson, and her husband Billie Ray Traylor after they said the pair also were caught passing fake checks through numerous stores there. Paul also faces similar charges in East Baton Rouge Parish, but authorities said they haven't been able to find her after her arrest in Plaquemine.
The LSU Hospital System had no immediate comment about the arrests.
State Police said they were reaching out to other agencies in the state to see if they had any victims connected to this case, and were continuing to analyze documents seized from Reams and Matthews' homes.
News 2's Kristy Davis will have more on this investigation tonight.
Here is a complete list of people arrested so far with their charges:
Pamela A. Reams, 47 - Baton Rouge
Meshaune Wilson, 34 - Baton Rouge
Lisa M. Haynes, 44 - Baton Rouge
Valencia S. Paul, 37 - Baton Rouge
Tammy R. Matthews, 47 - Baton Rouge
Lisa Anderson, 46 - Baton Rouge
Billy Ray Taylor, Jr., 42 - Baton Rouge, LA