A Minden man arrested on multiple charges of fraud, identity theft, monetary instrument abuse and forgery pled guilty to racketeering.
Raymond Warren, 57, entered his plea in front of 26th Judicial District Judge Michael O. Craig, Friday, July 24. Assistant district attorney Hugo Holland says his charges of 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 were rolled into the racketeering charge.
Holland says Warren claims his wife didn’t know about some of the fraudulent schemes and did his best to exonerate his wife, Barbara Warren.
“He exonerated his wife in several of the schemes,” Holland said. “I advised, him, his attorney and his wife’s attorney that she would still have to answer charges related to a series of hot checks she wrote to Minden Animal Clinic.”
“It led me to believe either (1) there was some truth to it, or (2) they had concocted a story to protect her,” he said. “Either way, prosecuting her for the racketeering would prove problematic at this point, so she is being held responsible for the felonies I know I can prove against her, namely the hot checks.”
The couple was arrested in April by Minden police when hot checks were reported to them, totaling $21,000, police chief Steve Cropper said at the time of their arrest.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau got involved when some reported fraudulent insurance claims were being investigated.
During a search of the couple’s Rathbun Street home, documentation was seized in reference to the case, including several boxes of checks, checkbooks, paperwork, some electronics and a truck were confiscated.
Investigators say it all started when they were contacted about two bad checks written by Barbara Warren to Brookshire’s Grocery in Oct. 2014. One of the checks was more than $500, which is a felony, Cropper said.
In April, 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, investigators said.
Investigators learned of several more instances where Raymond Warren was allegedly “kiting,” or floating, checks from bank to bank.
Barbara Warren was originally charged with three counts of bank fraud, issuing worthless checks and three counts of monetary instrument abuse. Her case has been scheduled for Oct. 12, with trial set for Dec. 7.
A status conference is set for Oct. 12 for Raymond Warren.