Tangipahoa police bust sophisticated identity theft ring

HAMMOND, LA – Six people are behind bars and two people are wanted for victimizing at least 45 people in a coordinated identity theft ring.

A year-long investigation led police to the ring, which operated by retrieving receipts from trash cans outside of businesses in the Hammond area and using the information on the receipts to obtain credit card numbers, personal information, and financial information, according to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Thirty-nine-year-old Wenzel Fontenot was the alleged ringleader, according to police, while 41-year old Salvador Lauricella, 37-year-old Miranda Lauricella, 44-year-old Leah Fontenot, 25-year-old Austin Hill, 30-year-old Bridgette Bryan, and 19-year-old Brianna Fitzgerald all collected receipts.

Twenty-eight-year-old Evan McPherson has also been arrested for manually entering stolen credit card numbers at an area store to facilitate fraudulent purchases.

Police are still looking for Miranda Lauricella and Bridgette Bryan, but the rest of the conspirators have already been arrested.

They all face an array of charges relating to identity theft and conspiracy to commit access device fraud.