BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Authorities arrested five people from the Houston area on New Year's Eve who are accused of using counterfeit $100 bills to make small purchases to get real money as change.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office reported the following suspects were arrested on four counts of monetary instrument abuse and four counts of theft; bond has been set at $16,000 each:
Victor Henry, 22
Kayla Peterson, 22
Mazarati Esset, 22
Krystal Noriega, 23
Tabatha Jolivet, 22
Deputies said they received an anonymous tip the group was passing off fake money around Baton Rouge. Detectives reported they learned the suspects were staying at a motel on Reiger Road. They added packages from stores in the area and a large amount of cash was found at the motel.
According to investigators, they received information from four different businesses reporting counterfeit bills had been found. Deputies said during questioning one suspect confessed they had gotten the fake bills in Houston and drove to several cities buying items.
"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," EBRSO spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks said in a written release.
Hicks said the suspect told detectives they passed off too many bills for her to remember how many they had used. Deputies said the suspect added the purchases were made in Baton Rouge on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30. According to investigators, the suspect also provided a list of about 20 other businesses where they had used the fake cash.
Detectives reported they searched three rooms at the motel and found counterfeit bills in all of them. They added the investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected.