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Bogalusa Man Gets 50 Years for Manslaughter in Woman’s 2016 Death

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 22, 2018

FRANKLINTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Charles Joseph Mixon, 43, of Bogalusa, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and obstruction of justice in the 2016 shooting death of a woman whose body was burned beyond recognition. Keri G. Stewart, 43, of Bogalusa, Mixon’s girlfriend at the time, also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the killing.

District Judge Alan Zaunbrecher sentenced Mixon to 40 years in prison on the manslaughter charge and 10 years on the obstruction charge, which will be served consecutive to the manslaughter sentence. Stewart was sentenced to 10 years in prison on the obstruction charge.

Mixon shot Cristin James to death during a confrontation between Aug. 2 and Aug. 3 in 2016 at a house on Shorty Bush Road, just outside Bogalusa, and then attempted to dispose of James’s body. Stewart claimed she was at the house but was not in the room when James was shot. Stewart tried to assist in the cover-up, driving James’ car away from the scene on Aug. 2, but Stewart wrecked the car and was severely injured.

Assistant District Attorney David Weilbaecher, Jr. prosecuted the case.

Bogalusa Man, 64, Pleads Guilty To Raping 5-Year-Old Girl

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 23, 2018

FRANKLINTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Donald R. Stone, 64, of Bogalusa pleaded guilty Monday (May 21) to the second degree rape of a victim under 13. District Judge William Knight sentenced Stone to 30 years in prison.

Between Jan. 1 and April 26 in 2016, Stone raped a 5-year-old girl. The child ultimately disclosed the crime to her mother, who contacted law enforcement authorities. The case was investigated by the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The victim and her family supported the terms of the plea. Assistant District Attorney Jason Cuccia prosecuted the case.

Grand Jury Indicts Two Men in Woman’s Heroin Death

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 18, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery announces that a St. Tammany Parish grand jury indicted two men—Oren Bowens, 39, of Slidell, and Warren Brown, 26, of Pearl River—with second degree murder Thursday (May 17) in the case of a 23-year-old woman who died after ingesting heroin.

Bowens is also charged with possession of Suboxone and possession with the intent to distribute heroin.

The men are accused of supplying and/or providing the heroin that caused the victim’s death on Oct. 16, 2017. Her cause of death was determined to be heroin toxicity.

Grand Jury Indicts Texas Man In Rape, Molestation Of Two Girls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 18, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish grand jury indicted Harold A. Butler, Jr., 45, of Jefferson Parish, with aggravated rape of a victim under 13 and the molestation of a juvenile under his care or custody in incidents involving two victims.

Butler is accused of raping a girl for many years, beginning when she was 12 years old and living in Mandeville. He also is accused of molesting another girl for a number of years, including a period when she was 16 years old and lived in Mandeville.

District Attorney Adds Charges to 3 Men in Mount Hermon Shooting Spree

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  May 18, 2018

FRANKLINTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery announced Friday (May 18) that he has added seven more counts to the charges against three young men accused of shooting homes and businesses in the Mount Hermon area before dawn in April last year.

The men—Bailey Koon, 18, of Franklinton; Dakota Tetreau, 20, of Franklinton; and Desmond Warren, 19, of Mount Hermon—are now charged with a total of 9 counts of illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities, 19 counts of simple criminal damage to property, and nine counts of aggravated criminal damage to property. That includes seven new charges–three counts of illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities, three counts of aggravated criminal damage and one count of simple criminal damage.

Koon, Tetreau, and Warren are accused in a shooting spree that erupted on April 11, 2017, between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., when residents in a rural Mount Hermon community were awakened by gunfire. At least 13 homes and outbuildings were damaged, as well as 9 vehicles and mailboxes. In some instances, the bullets struck inches of where someone was sleeping. After a five-month investigation by the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, the men were arrested in September 2017. The District Attorney’s Office charged them two months later with the first 30 counts. After further review and investigation, the seven additional charges were added to the amended charging document signed Tuesday by Montgomery.

Montgomery asks that any known victims who have not been in touch with the District Attorney’s Office about restitution to call (985) 335-1066 no later than June 30, 2018.

Sixteen People Charged With Racketeering In Counterfeit Check Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 27, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery hosted a press conference Friday (April 27) at 10:30 a.m. to announce the indictment of 16 suspects, charged with racketeering and 89 counts of bank fraud for an alleged check counterfeiting operation. The indictments, returned April 19, were the result of a yearlong investigation by Det. Nick Burtanog of the Slidell Police Department.

Between January and August 2017, the suspects operated as the “BME Mafia” and sought to defraud several banks, individuals, and government agencies, including the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. During a three-month scope of the operation, 89 checks, totaling more than $140,000, were discovered to have been presented to various financial institutions. The suspects called their scheme the “Nike game,” referring the sports company’s check logo.

“The criminal acts of financial fraudsters cause enormous damage to unsuspecting individuals and banks,” Montgomery said. “Check counterfeiting has reached epidemic levels as thieves become more sophisticated. We hope that this indictment shows the depth of our commitment to use all the tools in our arsenal, including racketeering laws, to fully prosecute these unlawful operations.”

The racketeering charge was a collaborative effort, resulting from Assistant District Attorneys working with the Slidell police department. Assistant District Attorney Butch Wilson is the lead attorney on the case.

Montgomery applauded the outstanding work of Detective Burtanog, who led the investigation at the Slidell Police Department, and thanked the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana State Police and the United States Secret Service for their assistance.

“White-collar crime is a costly crime that costs Americans over $300 billion a year,” Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal said. “Cooperative endeavors from multiple different law enforcement agencies brought down this criminal enterprise.”

The accused ringleader, Willie Mack Cauley, 40, of Slidell, has been arrested, and his bond was set at $1 million. Cauley, a rapper who runs an enterprise known as BlakMaze Entertainment, moved to St. Tammany in August 2016 after the Baton Rouge floods. He is accused of creating and/or providing counterfeit checks and identification to the other members of the enterprise, directing the operation, and receiving the majority of the profits.

Cauley allegedly enlisted the help of his associates in Baton Rouge to recruit co-conspirators, distribute, and present counterfeit checks out of the bank accounts of St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Diamond Sharp Contracting Group, Blue Ridge of Sumpter, Ross Dress for Less, Rack Room Shoes, and other individuals. Cauley is charged with racketeering and 89 counts of bank fraud.

At least 16 counterfeit checks were presented against the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office account for more than $30,000. Another 15 counterfeit checks were presented against other victims in Saint Tammany and Washington Parishes for more than $15,000. All losses were reimbursed by each bank.

“Although, the Sheriff’s Office did not suffer any financial loss on behalf of the taxpayers, my staff has put additional controls in place to prevent future fraud attempts,” St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith said. “We would encourage all residents to keep a close watch on their personal and business accounts. My office, along with our local and federal partners, will aggressively pursue anyone or any group looking to take advantage of our citizens.”

Bond was set at $200,000 for the remaining defendants, many of whom also have been arrested. The suspects, accusations against them, and charges as follows:

  • Teineka White, 43, of Sumter, South Carolina, accused of accessing account information as a retail vendor for Bank of America and sending it to Cauley via text; racketeering and 24 counts of bank fraud.
  • Kierra Dunbar, 20, of Slidell, accused of taking photos of legitimate customer checks at Ross Dress for Less and Rack Room Shoes, where she worked at the time, and providing them to Cauley for counterfeiting purposes; racketeering and 21 counts of bank fraud.
  • Victor Harris, 34, of Jacksonville, Florida, accused of giving a legitimate check, drawn on the account of Diamond Sharp Contracting Group, to Cauley, who then made counterfeit copies; racketeering and 11 counts of bank fraud.
  • Frederick Selders, 36, of Baton Rouge, accused of serving as a recruiter who enlisted individuals, known as “mules,” to cash the counterfeit checks and share in the profits; racketeering and seven counts of bank fraud.
  • Kelvin Carter, 25, of Gonzales, accused recruiter; racketeering and nine counts of bank fraud.
  • Marcus Nalls, 27, of Baton Rouge, accused recruiter; racketeering and five counts of bank fraud.
  • Tasha Variste, 31, of Baton Rouge, accused recruiter; racketeering and four counts of bank fraud.
  • Jonquayle McCoy, 24, of Baton Rouge, accused recruiter; racketeering and three counts of bank fraud.
  • Larry Womack, 23, of Slidell, accused recruiter, racketeering and nine counts of bank fraud.
  • Jonathan White, 40, of Biloxi, accused recruiter; racketeering and eight counts of bank fraud.
  • Robert Hatch, 26, of Baton Rouge, accused recruiter; racketeering and one count of bank fraud.
  • Steven Stanley, 27, of Baton Rouge, accused recruiter; racketeering and five counts of bank fraud.
  • Loreal Dunbar, 33, of Baker, recruiter; racketeering and six counts of bank fraud.
  • Derrick Variste, 33, of Baton Rouge, recruiter; racketeering and 17 counts of bank fraud.
  • Dareyan Byrd, 39, of Dothan, Alabama, recruiter; racketeering and two counts of bank fraud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metairie Woman Pleads Guilty to DWI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 24, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Olivia Matte, 27, of Metairie, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated (first offense) and improper lane usage Tuesday (April 24), after District Judge William Knight rejected her attempts to delay the case.

Knight sentenced Matte to a suspended six-month jail sentence, enrollment in a DWI and substance abuse treatment program, four eight-hour days of community service, a $600 fine plus court costs, and continued house arrest until charges pending against her in Jefferson Parish are resolved. She was required to pay a $50 fine plus court costs on the improper lane usage charge.

Matte was stopped on Dec. 7, 2016, by a Louisiana State Police trooper after he observed her car veer multiple times across the center line of Louisiana Highway 22 in Mandeville and then ride on the line for another 30 feet. The officer noted that Matte’s eyes were “bloodshot” and glossy and that she was swaying back and forth and smelled of alcohol. Matte refused a breathalyzer but failed a field sobriety test and was arrested.

Just weeks before her St. Tammany arrest, Matte had completed a Diversion Program for a previous DWI arrest on the Causeway in Jefferson Parish, and authorities there ultimately dismissed the charge. Though Matte was charged by State Police in St. Tammany with DWI second offense, D.A. Montgomery was prohibited by law from pursuing the case as a second offense because the initial charge had been dismissed.

Matte was charged with DWI a third time on March 23, 2017, while out on bond for the St. Tammany charge, after an accident on the Causeway in Jefferson Parish resulted in the death of a Mississippi man. Matte faces the following charges in Jefferson Parish: vehicular homicide, failure to maintain control, driving with a suspended license, and vehicular negligent injury.

Matte’s attorney requested a continuance Tuesday to delay the St. Tammany case, but Assistant District Attorney Harold Bartholomew objected, and Judge Knight rejected the attorney’s request. A short while later, Matte pleaded guilty to the charges.

Knight noted during the sentencing that by law he had to sentence Matte for a first offense DWI and that he could not consider the pending charges in Jefferson Parish.

Jury Finds Slidell Woman Guilty Of Stealing Identity From Social Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 19, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Cindy T. White, 41, of Slidell, guilty Wednesday (April 18) of theft of identity over $1,000 for stealing another woman’s identity via social media. White faces up to 10 years when she is sentenced by District Judge Scott Gardner on April 24.

In her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Casey Dieck described the credentials that White had listed on her resume, including a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a master’s from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Pointing to the defendant, Dieck said, “That’s not this person. This person stole the victim’s hard work and used it to get a six-figure salary and benefits to boot.”

White’s crime began to unravel in April 2016, when an employee of Diversified Foods and Seasonings contacted the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office about White, who had provided a fraudulent resume, social security number, and driver’s license number to get an executive level job. White had been hired in September 2015 as a human resources manager at the company’s Covington office at $95,000 per year. Five months later, she was promoted to senior human resources director at $105,000.

Company officials became suspicious, though, when White had trouble performing duties within the educational level and experience listed on her resume, and when she began delegating many tasks assigned to her. Upon closer inspection of her personnel file, authorities found discrepancies. Investigators ultimately determined that White did not possess the educational background on her resume and that she had copied it directly from the Linked In account of someone with a similar name. She also had obtained the woman’s Social Security number and Driver’s License number through an unspecified site online.

When investigators tracked White’s real Social Security number, they learned she had been arrested in New Orleans in February 1997 for theft, forgery, and malfeasance in office. At the time, White worked for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and was accused of assuming a co-worker’s identity and emptying the victim’s bank account, before being identified by surveillance photos. White pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery on September 27, 1997, and was placed on probation. But court records indicate her probation was terminated in 1999 because the court received information that she was deceased. White also had pleaded guilty in Jefferson Parish to attempted theft of goods on December 4, 1998.

Between October 9, 2015, and May 6, 2016, White fraudulently collected $56,209 in salary from Diversified Foods. White admitted in a statement to investigators that she fraudulently used the victim’s educational experience and Social Security number to get the job. But her defense attorney argued during the trial that she actually earned the salary.

Contradicting the defense’s argument, Dieck added: “We have here a defendant who admits to stealing to cover up the fact that she’s a convicted thief.”

The case was investigated by St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Detective Stefan Montgomery and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Brian Grayson. Jurors deliberated just 15 minutes before returning the guilty verdict. Assistant District Attorney Butch Wilson assisted Dieck in prosecuting the case.

Bogalusa Man Pleads Guilty to Series of Arsons in Bogalusa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 18, 2018

FRANKLINTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Herman A. Thomas, 44, of Bogalusa, pleaded guilty Monday (April 16) to one count of aggravated arson and eight counts of simple arson for igniting a series of fires in Bogalusa over two years.

District Judge William “Rusty” Knight sentenced Thomas to six years in prison with four of the years suspended on the aggravated arson charge and two years on each of the simple arson charges. The two years are to be served concurrently without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

This case drew the attention of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal, after a series of eight mysterious fires were set in Bogalusa between 2015 and 2017. The last fire was set on Nov. 8, 2017, in a vehicle next to a home on Adams Street. The home owner was sitting on her front porch with friends, when Thomas walked up and told them that he had seen “a couple of black males” trying to steal something from the vehicle the night before. When Thomas walked to the car with another male, they found the car filled with smoke, and burning newspaper was removed from underneath the seat.

Investigators determined the fire to be arson and zeroed in on Thomas as a suspect. When they interviewed him about the arson, he admitted setting the Adams Street fire, as well as the seven others.

Thomas was scheduled for an arraignment hearing in court Monday, when he unexpectedly pleaded guilty.