East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Detectives arrested a ring of five individuals from the Houston area yesterday evening that were caught passing off counterfeit $100 bills around Baton Rouge.
Twenty-two-year-old Victor Henry; Twenty-two-year-old Mazarati Esset; Twenty-three-year-old Krystal Noriega; Twenty-two-year-old Tabatha Jolivet; and Twenty-two-year-old Kayla Peterson all of the Houston, Texas area are charged with Monetary Instrument Abuse (4 counts) and Theft (4 counts).
Detectives received information yesterday from an anonymous tip that the five individuals were using counterfeit hundred dollar bills to make various small purchases around Baton Rouge in order to receive change for the bills. The individuals were staying at a motel on Reiger Road. Detectives proceeded to the hotel and discovered various packages from the area merchants and a large amount of cash consisting of twenty dollar and smaller denomination bills. Detectives also began receiving information of counterfeit bills being found at four different businesses in Baton Rouge.
While interviewing the suspects, one admitted that they obtained counterfeit money while in Houston and drove to several cities, including Baton Rouge, to make purchases. They stated Henry would give the women the bills to make the purchases, and they would then give their change to Henry and he would allegedly pay them their "cut" of the funds. One suspect stated there were too many bills for her to remember how many they had passed off. The suspect advised all the transactions were made in Baton Rouge on December 29th and 30th. She provided a list of approximately twenty additional businesses where they had presented the money and advised there were more.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for three motel rooms and found counterfeit bills in all three. The suspects were all arrested and booked on the above charges. The investigation is ongoing, evidence is still being processed, and more charges are expected.
Business owners or individuals that suspect they have a counterfeit bill should call their local law enforcement agency to make a report.
Anyone with information concerning these individuals is asked to contact the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office at 225-389-5000. Crime Stoppers is also offering a cash reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest of those responsible. Contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at (225) 344- STOP or (225) 344-7867