Third arrest made in BR-based national financial fraud scheme
BATON ROUGE - The Attorney General's Office announced the arrest of a third person Tuesday in connection with national financial fraud scheme that resulted in the theft of more than 300 identities and more than $5 million in fraud.
26-year-old Jessica Clements-Batiste faces charges of racketeering and criminal conspiracy to commit racketeering for her role in helping to carry out the scheme which defrauded hundreds of individuals along with banks and other businesses.
Clements-Batiste is accused of aiding Donald Batiste in providing bogus credit repair services for a fee through Donald Batiste's Baton Rouge-based company, Best Inc. According to the AG's Office, Clements-Batiste helped issue stolen social security numbers, issued under the guise of Credit Profile Numbers or CPNs. The credit repair company instructed clients to use the CPNs to obtain bank loans, purchases vehicles and secure various lines of credit. Many of the CPNs sold to customers were the active Social Security numbers of children.
The Attorney General's Office says Clements-Batiste also conspired with professional forgers who created fraudulent Social Security cards, bank statements, utility bills and tax documents. She is also accused of using a stolen Social Security number to obtain a fraudulent automobile loan for H3 Hummer SUV.
Clements-Batiste also met with clients on several occasions to sell them bogus lines of credit for up to half a million dollars in exchange for an advance fee. The AG's Office says victims paid thousands of dollars in advance fees for lines of credit they would never go on to receive.
Through the financial fraud scheme, more than 50 vehicles were purchased, causing more than $1 million in funded automobile loans. The stolen Social Security numbers used to submit hundreds of online applications caused more than $3 million in pre-approved automobile loans, according to investigators. More than $1.2 million was also given out on other services including credit lines at clothing and jewelry stores, credit cards from various banks and cell phone purchases.
Clements-Batiste, who currently lives in Texas and is the ex-wife of Donald Batiste, was booked into the EBR Parish prison Tuesday morning. Her co-conspirators, Donald Batiste and Brenda Taylor, were taken into custody in late September on similar charges.