Woman featured in On Your Side report now accused of swindling $23,000 out of bank
BATON ROUGE - The tables have turned for a woman who brought her concerns to WBRZ. Now she's in trouble with the law and facing felony charges.
In May, Carol Lafitte called 2 On Your Side claiming she was overcharged by a store in the mall for moisturizer. Lafitte says she was charged about $27,000. When her bank found out she had been talking to WBRZ, her money was credited back to her account. But now, she's on the hook for bank fraud and theft.
The Baton Rouge Police Department says Lafitte was scamming multiple parties.
"Throughout the course of the investigation we found that she was actually lying," said Sgt. L'Jean McKneely.
Lafitte's story is quite different. She told 2 On Your Side she walked into Forever Flawless, a luxury skincare company, to purchase moisturizer. It's a product she has purchased before and was intending to spend $60. When she looked at her bank statement, she found 10 separate transactions totaling over $27,000.
Lafitte says these were items she never intended to buy and asked for a refund. A sign in the store says it does not offer refunds and this request was not granted by the store.
"They said we're not going to take any of it back," Lafitte told 2 On Your Side.
The affidavit says Lafitte did not receive any receipts and she did not sign for any of the items. It also says Lafitte contacted her bank, Neighbors Federal Credit Union and told them that her credit card was charged over $27,000 without her permission at Forever Flawless.
After the bank had been told Lafitte contacted WBRZ, Neighbors Federal Credit Union credited her bank account for $23,154.43 before any follow-up investigation.
The affidavit says an investigator obtained copies of the receipts from Forever Flawless and Lafitte's purchases. Two receipts indicate she had used her PIN and the rest were signed by Lafitte. The store manager also handed over surveillance video of Lafitte making these purchases and using the key pad. Other photos provided show Lafitte posing with the store manager and other employees holding shopping bags from the store.
On June 9, 2 On Your Side reported Lafitte had been credited about $23,000 from the bank. According to the affidavit, Lafitte withdrew the money on June 8 and closed her account. A copy of her driver's license shows her signature and the signature on the receipts from Forever Flawless are very similar.
About a month later, on July 3, 2017, Lafitte arrived at a Neighbors Bank branch and signed a document stating she would pay the money back to the bank.
"We have worked with her, the bank has worked with her for fraud. She committed fraud in taking $20-plus thousand from the bank," said McKneely. "The bank actually set up a payment plan to come pay and she hasn't come through with her obligations."
No attempt to pay the money back has been made. WBRZ has attempted to contact Lafitte for the past week and a phone call results in a busy signal.
Lafitte was released from jail after Wednesday after posting a $15,000 bond.