Children’s Identities Stolen by Massive Nationwide Fraud/Auto Theft Ring

Extracted from WDSU.com By: WDSU Digital Team July 1, 2020

NEW ORLEANS —

More than 20 people were arrested in connection with a fraud and auto theft investigation conducted by the Louisiana State Police (LSP) along with other surrounding law enforcement agencies.

Multiple agencies conducted an investigation into a group of individuals who had originally utilized a Mandeville resident’s stolen identity to purchase a vehicle, according to LSP.

During the early stages of the investigation, investigators said they uncovered an affiliation between Joshua Blaise, Charles Roy and Tanya Ward, as operators of Fresh Start Financial.

The preliminary investigation into the business revealed that the arrested subjects had purchased and were in possession of high value luxury vehicles acquired via stolen and false identifiers, according to state police's report.

LSP said agents were able to execute six search warrants at various locations on the morning of April 30, 2019.

During these warrants, investigators recovered seven stolen vehicles, three all-terrain vehicles, three firearms, various narcotics, approximately $2,000 and multiple counterfeit state identification cards.

Agents also seized multiple computers and cellular phones for processing, according to the report.

As a result of evidence seized and information gathered at various times throughout the lengthy investigation, agents determined that members of this criminal organization would acquire stolen or unassigned Social Security Numbers and attach a fictitious name to it.

A profile around this new identity would be assumed using an address for a local house for sale which was used as the address of residence, according to the state police's report.

Fake payroll stubs, utility bills, fictitious names and stolen addresses would then be used to apply for credit through various retailers and banks in order to begin building a credit history and profile.

LSP said then a third party would be paid to attach this developing Social Security Number and identity to their credit card account under an authorized user in order to boost the credit rating of the identity. Once the identity was established and had a respectable credit score, the credit profile was either used or sold to commit fraud, according to the report.

According to State Police, 60 search warrants were executed to include electronic devices, email accounts, business records, cellular phone records, and credit reports. The execution of these warrants exposed approximately 121 children’s identities that had been stolen and used to create synthetic identities which were then re-sold to willing customers of Fresh Start Financial in order to commit fraud.

This led to the discovery of approximately another 13 vehicles stolen via fraud and recovered by the LSP-IFAT-NFO, according to the report.

Agents said they also identified approximately 24 associates of Fresh Start Financial who purchased a stolen identity and used the identity to commit various crimes.

Agents conducted 121 victim notifications to the families of the juvenile victims, spanning all the way from Alaska to various states along the east coast, according to state police.

This included investigators working with each victim’s family to identify the breach of their child’s information, obtaining credit reports, identifying fraudulent transactions, and disputing said transactions.

As of June 26, the LSP-IFAT-NFO has received confirmation from the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office they would be seeking an indictment against Ward and Roy for racketeering regarding the criminal enterprise they operated under Fresh Start Financial and the predicated offenses of: identity theft, and injuring public records/filing or maintaining false public records, according to state police.

LSP-IFAT-NFO has conservatively estimated the potential fraud loss amount to $1,000,000.00 from the activities of this organization.

Those arrested are as followed:

42-year-old Tanya Ward: (1) COUNT of Bank Fraud, (1) COUNT of Forgery, (2) COUNTS of Computer fraud, (1) COUNT of Monetary Instrument Abuse, (2) COUNTS of Theft of a Motor Vehicle, (32) COUNTS of Identity Theft, (1) COUNT of Possession of a Schedule I Narcotic, (74) COUNTS of Unlawful Production, Manufacturing, or Distribution of Fraudulent Documents, (1) COUNT of Insurance Fraud, and (1) COUNT of Injuring Public Records. (Jefferson and St. Tammany Parish)

31-year-old Charles Roy: (2) COUNTs of Bank Fraud, (2) COUNTs of Forgery, (1) COUNT of Computer Fraud, (1) COUNT of Monetary Instrument Abuse, (4) COUNTS of Theft of a Motor Vehicle, (2) COUNTS of Identity Theft, (1) COUNT of Insurance Fraud, (2) COUNTs of Injuring Public Records, (4) COUNTS related to Fugitive warrants. (Jefferson and St. Charles Parish)

23-year-old Erin Alonzo: Fugitive from Orleans Parish, Louisiana, for Second Degree Murder. (St. Tammany Parish)

28-year-old Joshua Blaise: (1) COUNT of Identity Theft. (St. Tammany Parish)

26-year-old Jermaine Toussaint: (2) COUNTs of Bank Fraud, (2) COUNTs of Forgery, (2) COUNTS of Computer Fraud, (2) COUNTS of Theft of a Motor Vehicle, (2) COUNTS of Identity Theft, and (2) COUNTs of Injuring Public Records. (Orleans and Jefferson Parish)

24-year-old Carldell Marshal: (1) COUNT of Carrying of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Fugitive Warrant. (Jefferson Parish)

30-year-old Chloe Singleton: Multiple Fugitve Warrants, (1) COUNT of Bank Fraud, (1) COUNT of Forgery, (1) COUNT of Computer Fraud, (1) COUNT of Theft of a Motor Vehicle, (1) COUNT of Identity Theft, (1) COUNT of PWIT of a Schedule I Narcotic, and (1) COUNT of Possession of a Schedule IV Narcotic. (Jefferson Parish)

24-year-old Shaquille Florant: (1) COUNT of Bank Fraud, (1) COUNT of Forgery, (1) COUNT of Computer Fraud, (1) COUNT of Monetary Instrument Abuse, (1) COUNT of Theft of a Motor Vehicle, (1) COUNT of Identity Theft, and a Fugitive Warrant. (Jefferson Parish)

42-year-old Torron Wilson: (1) COUNT of Principle to Identity Theft, (1) COUNT of Principle to Bank Fraud, (1) COUNT of Principle to Theft of a Motor Vehicle, (1) COUNT of Principle to Computer Fraud. (Jefferson Parish)

34-year-old Terrell Perkins: (1) COUNT of Bank Fraud, (1) COUNT of Identity Theft, and (1) COUNT of Carrying of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. (Orleans and Jefferson Parish)

38-year-old Kimberly Gentry: (1) COUNT of Theft of a Motor Vehicle, and (1) COUNT of Unlawful Production, Manufacturing, or Distribution of Fraudulent Documents. (Orleans Parish)

36-year-old Dsean Young: (1) COUNT of Bank Fraud, (1) COUNT of Computer Fraud, (1) COUNT of Theft of a Motor Vehicle, (1) COUNT of Identity Theft, and (1) COUNT of Injuring Public Records. (Orleans Parish)

36-year-old Kendra Walker: Fugitive from Pearl River, La, and Jefferson Parish, La.

24-year-old Jasmine Ceaser: (1) COUNT of Bank Fraud, (1) COUNT of Computer Fraud, (1) COUNT of Theft of a Motor Vehicle, (1) COUNT of Identity Theft, and (1) COUNT of Unlawful Production, Manufacturing, or Distribution of Fraudulent Documents. (Orleans Parish)

25-year-old Elmira Fobbs: (1) COUNT of Unlawful Production, Manufacturing, or Distribution of Fraudulent Documents. (Jefferson Parish)

29-year-old Shanequa Henry: (1) COUNT of Unlawful Production, Manufacturing, or Distribution of Fraudulent Documents. (Jefferson Parish)

26-year-old Johnnisha Matthews: (2) COUNTS of Identity Theft, (1) COUNT of Computer Fraud, (1) COUNT of Unlawful Production, Manufacturing, or Distribution of Fraudulent Documents. (Orleans Parish)

26-year-old Pauline Peters: (1) COUNT of Identity Theft, and (1) COUNT of Computer Fraud. (Orleans Parish)

44-year-old Ladell Eurings: (3) COUNTS of Theft, and (3) COUNTS of Identity Theft. (Orleans Parish)

31-year-old Daijonia Hopson: (1) COUNT of Computer Fraud, and (1) COUNT of Identity Theft.

25-year-old Raymoniqua Johnson: (1) COUNT of Identity Theft *AT LARGE* (Orleans Parish)

32-year-old Courtney Griffith: (1) COUNT of Computer Fraud, (1) COUNT of Identity Theft, and (1) COUNT of Bank Fraud. *AT LARGE* (St. Bernard Parish)

The Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud/Auto theft unit is responsible for investigating referrals of suspected fraudulent insurance acts. Anyone having information concerning persons staging vehicle crashes or committing other forms of insurance fraud should contact Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud/Auto Theft unit at 504-310-7000.

If you have any information concerning the whereabouts of Courtney Griffith, contact the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud/ Auto Theft Unit or local law enforcement officials in your area.