Couple arrested on fraud charges

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B. Warren
B. Warren
R. Warren
R. Warren

A Minden couple sits behind bars after Minden Police discovered an alleged trail of bank fraud and identity theft.

Raymond Warren, 57, of the 1100 block of Rathbun Street, was arrested Tuesday, April 28, and charged with 20 counts of identity theft, 38 counts of access device fraud, 38 counts of unlawful possession of fraudulent documents for identification purposes, issuing worthless checks, bank fraud, forgery, 17 counts of monetary instrument abuse, three counts of computer fraud, and three counts of online impersonation. Bond was set at $60,000.

His wife, Barbara Warren, 45, has been charged with three counts of bank fraud, issuing worthless checks and three counts of monetary instrument abuse. Bond was set at $45,000.

“It (the case) came in as some bad checks and as they (detectives) got to looking into it, they got to two local banks totaling about $21,000 in bad checks,” Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said. “A representative from National Crime Insurance Bureau, which investigates insurance fraud, got involved and he assisted in the investigation.”

Cropper says a search warrant was issued and police went to the Rathbun Street residence and seized documentation in reference to the case. Police seized numerous boxes of checks, checkbooks, paperwork, and some electronics. Investigators also seized a truck purchased under an assumed name the Friday before the couple’s arrest. The dealership in Bossier City picked it up later.

Investigators say it all started when they were contacted about two bad checks written by Barbara Warren to Brookshire’s Grocery in October 2014. One of the checks was more than $500, which is a felony, Cropper says.

Within a handful of days, a representative at Regions Bank contacted police telling them Raymond Warren had taken Navy Federal Credit Union checks and was writing them on an account for a nonexistent business.

“He was ‘kiting’ the checks from Regions Bank to the Navy Federal Credit Union,” Cropper said.

Kiting is a term used when checks are floated from bank to bank. In other words, Warren was essentially floating a check. But instead of writing a check and making a deposit before the check cleared, he would withdraw money from an ATM machine before the check came through and put it into another bank.

Once Det. Keith King began delving into the alleged crimes against Regions, Agent Ted Raley, with the NCIB contacted them in reference to the insurance fraud against USAA, an insurance company for military members.

Investigators say it’s roughly $25,000 worth of claims where Warren has created bogus accounts, saying someone broke into his vehicle or his home. The claims were between $1,500 and $2,000 each time.

The insurance fraud began in 2012, according to what investigators found.

While King was investigating the Regions case, Det. Chris Cheatham received a case from Citizens Bank along the same lines. In the Citizens case, Warren allegedly created a new name and opened an account with false identification and paperwork. Warren was reportedly doing the same thing with two other banks in Bossier City.

Somehow, he said, the banks networked and figured out what was going on.

“He went from banks to writing hot checks at Dixie Mart,” Cropper said.

Investigators say Raymond Warren admitted to the charges, including the insurance fraud.

Barbara Warren’s charges, investigators said, stem from writing bad checks and cashing fraudulent checks.

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