Second arrest made in elaborate fraud scheme
BATON ROUGE - Authorities arrested a second person in connection with an elaborate financial fraud scheme involving more than 300 cases of identity theft and more than $5 million in fraud according to the Attorney General's Office.
AG Buddy Caldwell said 64-year-old Brenda Taylor of Carencro was arrested late Tuesday and faces charges of racketeering and criminal conspiracy to commit racketeering.
She's accused of conspiring with Donald Batiste of Baton Rouge, who Caldwell said ran a credit repair company as a front to steal information from people and businesses across the nation. Investigators said Taylor worked with forgers to create counterfeit bank records to try and get a quarter-million dollar loan Taylor claimed would be used by her church. Caldwell said Taylor also used a fake Social Security number to get two auto loans.
The attorney general's office said the conspiracy affected hundreds of people, financial institutions and automobile dealerships. More than 50 vehicles were bought through more than $1 million in auto loans which investigators said were obtained through the scheme. Authorities said many stolen Social Security numbers belonging to children were used to submit hundreds of credit applications online for more than $3 million in pre-approved auto loans.
More than $1.2 million was also given out through credit lines on clothing and jewelry stores, credit cards from various banks and cell phone purchases according to Caldwell's office.
Authorities booked Taylor into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail on the above charges. The maximum sentence for racketeering is 75 years in prison.