Accountant arrested as WBRZ files report about scheme to meet women
UPDATE: On January 15, 2019, the District Attorney’s Office in Ascension Parish dismissed all charges against Marlon Lemoine. Prosecutors said after a thorough investigation with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, Lemoine was excluded as a suspect.
Investigators combed through Lemoine’s computers and electronic devices and determined his IP address was NOT used to create the fake profile to impersonate Drew Landry. The criminal investigation into online impersonation continues to determine who did it.
PRAIRIEVILLE- An accountant has been arrested following a WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit report that focused on a little-known law that makes it illegal to impersonate someone on the internet.
Thursday evening, Marlon Lemoine, a senior accountant at a firm on Perkins Road, was taken in handcuffs to the Ascension Parish Jail. Lemoine will be charged with online impersonation, WBRZ learned.
> WATCH: WBRZ camera records Lemoine being escorted to jail; See the video HERE
The arrest was made 30 minutes before a WBRZ special report was to be featured on the 6 o'clock news where the victim said Lemoine was using a fake profile built around the victim's Facebook pictures to solicit women.
Ahead of the arrest, the WBRZ Investigative Unit learned authorities subpoenaed Lemoine's phone records after being accused of posing as someone else to meet women on the internet. The victim told deputies and WBRZ recently, the situation made his life a nightmare.
“… she asked, 'what are you doing on all these dating websites?'” paramedic Drew Landry recalled of how he was confronted by a woman who messaged him Facebook. The woman, Landry said, was one of numerous women who began having conversations with him through social media after messaging with Lemoine on other websites.
At first, Landry and his fiance started their own investigation. They messaged with Lemoine on dating site Plenty of Fish – where Landry said he was sent his stolen pictures.
"One selfie was cropped out," Landry said. "My fiance and I had a baby four months ago, and he cropped out a photo of my baby that was ten minutes old."
Messages escalated, the couple told WBRZ.
"My fiance was messaging him; All he wanted to do was meet up at a home in Zachary and do a lot of things” to her, Landry said.
Lemoine shared his phone number, and Landry searched the number in Facebook and found him.
Lemoine then sent pictures of himself – not the fake profile – to Landry's fiance, and they used that to do even more research.
"She was able to go on background searches and matched it to everything else," Landry said. "It matched on Linked In. We found out who he was… a senior accountant for Laporte on Perkins Road."
The messages purportedly from Lemoine are graphic – too graphic to be shown in the television version of this story – but included naked pictures of the man.
Armed with his own evidence, Landry filed a report with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office. He also reached out to the dating site Plenty of fish to have the company remove the fake profile with his name and pictures on it.
Earlier this week, Marlon Lemoine came face-to-face with another camera: That of the WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit. In a parking garage, Lemoine was questioned about if he ever created a fake profile on a dating website.
"No," Lemoine responded.
Lemoine scurried to his car when confronted with the images sent to Landry, and did not want to talk about how Landry and his fiance got his phone number.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Lemoine said. "I have to go,” as he went to drive away.
Experts of the law called the situation concerning, and a lesson for anyone on social media.
"Online impersonation is new," attorney and former police officer Tommy Dewey said. "It wasn't around when I was a police officer, but... it's very scary to know someone can take your pics, take your name and go on some other website to ruin your name for a lack of a better term."
Dewey warned even if a profile is set to private, things can still get shared – especially if it's in a public forum.
"Once you put it on the internet, everyone has access to it," Dewey said. "We all have friends, family, and loved ones. When you put it out there and they can consume it, it can be passed on."
Lemoine had nothing to say to WBRZ as a television camera recorded his escort to jail Thursday.
Lemoine's employer released this statement Friday: “LaPorte CPAs & Business Advisors is aware of the serious allegations of online impersonation concerning an employee of our firm, and we are taking immediate and affirmative steps regarding the allegations. LaPorte takes these allegations very seriously, and we are conducting an extensive review to confirm that the allegations do not relate to his employment in any respect. The employee has been placed on administrative leave, and will not perform services on behalf of LaPorte clients or have access to LaPorte systems. We are in the process of reassignments to other LaPorte professionals to minimize any disruption for our clients. We will provide updates to our clients and employees as more information is known.”