BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A third person was arrested in connection to a financial fraud scheme that affected people nationwide and stole more than 300 identities and $5 million, according to the Louisiana Attorney General's Office.
Jessica Clements-Batiste, 26, was arrested and charged with racketeering and criminal conspiracy to commit racketeering for her part in a scheme which defrauded hundreds of people and businesses including banks. She is the ex-wife of Donald Batiste, who was the first person arrested in connection to the criminal enterprise.
According to officials, Clements-Batiste helped Batiste provided bogus "credit repair" services for a fee through his company, Best, Inc., to individuals with poor credit. She allegedly issued stolen Social Security numbers (SSNs) to clients as Credit Profile Numbers or CPNs that could be used to assist customers in obtaining lines of credit. Many of the SSNs were active and belonged to children.
Clements-Batiste is accused of receiving thousands of dollars in advance fees from victims after "selling" them bogus lines of credit worth up to a half-million dollars that they never got.
Clements-Batiste is also accused of conspiring with forgers to create fake Social Security cards, bank records, tax documents and utility bills. Using a stolen SSN, she allegedly got a car loan for an H3 Hummer.
According to the AG's office, the entire scheme netted more than 50 vehicles which were bought with car loans worth more than $1 million. Many of the stolen Social Security numbers (SSN) belong to children and were used in online credit applications for pre-approved car loans worth more than $3 million. More than $1.2 million was used for other services, including clothing and jewelry store credit, cell phones purchases, and credit cards from different banks.
Clements-Batiste currently resides in Texas and was booked Tuesday into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Co-conspirators Batiste and Brenda Taylor were also arrested on charges of racketeering and criminal conspiracy to commit racketeering in late September.