Police: NOLA-based company stole children's identities to purchase big-ticket items
NEW ORLEANS - A New Orleans-based business is accused of leading an identity theft scam that involved using the stolen identities of more than 100 children to purchase luxury cars and other items.
According to The Advocate, 20 people have been arrested in connection with the complex scheme.
Investigators say Fresh Start Financial Group of New Orleans was operating the scheme; the company's directors, 31-year-old Charles Roy and 32-year-old Tanya Ward, worked with Fresh Start's clients to carry out the scam.
Trooper Monroe Dillon, a spokesman for State Police, says the group stole the identities of 121 children from across the country, using them to create fake identities.
Apparently, a separate group linked to Fresh Start Financial used stolen or unassigned social security numbers to create fake identities, according to authorities.
Then, someone would use make the phony identity seem real by assigning it with the address of a local house for sale and then creating fake payroll stubs and utility bills. These fake documents were then used to apply for credit from different banks and stores, which would officially establishing the bogus identity’s credit history, Dillon said.
The group paid third parties to add the fake identity as an authorized user on credit card accounts, further boosting the credit rating. Once that fake identity had a respectable credit score, the group sold it a willing customer of Fresh Start Financial, authorities said.
During the course of the lengthy investigation, agents executed 60 search warrants for electronic devices, email accounts, business records, cell phone records and credit reports. They also served warrants at several locations in April 2019, seizing seven stolen vehicles, three all-terrain vehicles, three guns, various types of drugs, $2,000 cash and multiple counterfeit state identification cards, authorities said.
The suspects in the case are facing charges in various jurisdictions, according to Dillon. Those arrested include:
-Tanya Ward, booked in Jefferson and St. Tammany Parishes on multiple counts ranging from identity fraud to bank fraud to drug possession.
-Chares Roy, booked in Jefferson and St. Charles parishes on multiple counts ranging from bank fraud and identity theft to motor vehicle theft.
-Erin Alonzo, 23, booked with being a fugitive from Orleans Parish where he has been indicted with second-degree murder. An Orleans Parish grand jury charged Alonzo in the death of Terrance Jackson, 22, who was gunned down during an armed robbery in New Orleans on Thanksgiving Day 2016, authorities said. Alonzo was linked to the scene through DNA and cell phone data, according to investigators.
-Joshua Blaise, 28, booked in St. Tammany Parish with identity theft.
-Jermaine Toussaint, 26, booked in Orleans and Jefferson parishes on multiple counts ranging from motor vehicle theft to bank fraud and identity theft.
-Carldell Marshall, 24, booked in Jefferson Parish with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and a fugitive warrant.
-Chole Singleton, 30, booked in Jefferson Parish on multiple counts incluidng identity theft and bank fraud.
-Shaquille Florant, 24, booked in Jefferson Parish with on multiple including identity theft and bank fraud.
-Torron Wilson, 42, booked in Jefferson Parish on multiple counts including principal to identity theft and pincipal to bank fraud.
-Terrell Perkins, 34, booked in Orleans and Jefferson parishes on multiple counts including identity theft, bank fraud and being a convicted felon with a firearm.
-Kimberly Gentry, 38, booked in Orleans Parish with theft of a motor vehicle and unlawful production, manufacturing and distribution of fraudulent documents.
-Dsean Young, 36, booked in Orleans Parish with multiple counts including bank fraud and identity theft.
-Kendra Walker, 36, arrested as a fugitive from Jefferson Parish and Pear River.
-Jasmine Ceaser, 24, booked on multiple counts including identity theft and bank fraud.
-Elmira Fobbs, 25, booked in Jefferson Parish with unlawful production, manufacturing or distribution of fraudulent documents.
-Shanequa Henry, 29, booked in Jefferson Parish with unlawful production, manufacturing or distribution of fraudulent documents.
-Johnnisha Matthews, 26, booked in Orleans Parish with two counts of identity theft, computer fraud and unlawful production, manufacturing or distribution of fraudulent documents.
-Pauline Peters, 26, booked in Orleans Parish with identity theft and computer fraud.
-Ladell Eurings, 44, booked in Orleans Parish with three counts of identity theft and three counts of theft.
-Daijonia Hopson, 31, booked with computer fraud and identity theft.
Authorities are still searching for two people in connection with the case:
-Raymoniqua Johnson, 25, wanted on a count of identity theft in Orleans Parish.
-Courtney Griffith, 32, wanted on charges of computer fraud, identity theft and bank fraud in St. Bernard Parish.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Johnson or Griffith is asked to call local law enforcement.
The Louisiana State Police’s Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Unit investigated the case with help from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Auto Theft Unit, Homeland Security Investigations’ New Orleans Field Office and Office of the Inspector General.
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