Authorities have arrested five suspects accused of participating in a major check fraud scheme in Terrebonne Parish.
According to the Terrebonne Sheriff’s Office, detectives started receiving complaints in October of checks being stolen out of the mailboxes from multiple companies. The thieves used the stolen checks to recreate additional checks and changed the dollar amount on each check to about $2,800.
The thieves then cashed the fraudulent checks at multiple banks, the Sheriff’s Office said.
One of the suspects, identified as Stephen Ray Carpenter, 34, of 2420 St. Andrew St., New Orleans, was arrested at a local bank on Dec. 15 while attempting to cash one of the bad checks, deputies said. After being charged with bank fraud, forgery and monetary instrument abuse, Carpenter was transported to the Terrebonne Parish jail, where he remains on a $50,000 bond.
A second suspect, identified as 46-year-old Jay Alan Ainsworth, of 1803 Gravier St., New Orleans, was arrested while trying to cash a fraudulent check Monday evening in the 3800 block of West Park Avenue, authorities said.
Ainsworth was charged with bank fraud, attempted theft, forgery and monetary instrument abuse, and was jailed on a $100,000 bond.
On Wednesday evening, a third suspect, Algy Howard, 43, of 425 Highway Drive, New Orleans, was arrested as he was leaving the lobby of a bank in the 1000 block of West Tunnel Boulevard in Houma, where he tried to cash a fraudulent $2,800 check, deputies said.
Shortly after Howard’s arrest, deputies located the suspects’ vehicle in a business near the bank, authorities said. The vehicle was occupied by two other suspects who were waiting for Howard to return from the bank.
The two suspects in the vehicle were identified as Shontielle White, 20, of 1936 N. Tonti St., New Orleans, and Teaundre Brown, 30, of 307 Warren St., Atlanta, Ga., deputies said. After detecting the smell of marijuana in the vehicle, officers executed a search warrant that led to the seizure of additional fraudulent checks and marijuana
Howard was charged with bank fraud, monetary instrument abuse, obstruction of justice, attempted theft, forgery and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held without a bond, authorities said.
White was charged with two counts of bank fraud, seven counts of attempted theft, seven counts of forgery and seven counts of monetary instrument abuse. She was jailed on a $150,000 bond.
Brown was charged with two counts of bank fraud, seven counts of attempted theft, seven counts of forgery and seven counts of monetary instrument abuse. He was jailed on a $200,000 bond.
The Sheriff’s Office said the investigation is ongoing and the arrested suspects will receive additional charges.