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COVINGTON, La. — A Meraux man is back behind bars in St. Tammany Parish after an investigation following a routine traffic stop reveals more than 400 stolen/fraudulent checks valued at approximately $538,000.

Gregory Ward Jr. was stopped by a St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputy for speeding on Jan. 25.

During that traffic stop, the 21-year-old Ward initially provided a fake name was found to be in possession of several checks, credit cards, and debit cards that were suspected to be stolen, altered, and fraudulently manufactured.

At the time of the traffic stop, detectives were able to identify one of the victims of the stolen/altered checks and Ward was arrested at that time on numerous charges. He was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail, but bonded out on February 2.

However, the investigation into the more than 415 other stolen/altered checks continued. 

Gregory Ward, Jr.

STPSO detectives learned Ward was stealing checks and altering those checks and also using the checks to create counterfeit checks before depositing the altered checks as well as the counterfeit checks into various bank accounts.

During the January traffic stop, Ward was also in possession of check altering and check making items such as white out and blank check stock.

As the investigation progressed, STPSO detectives were able to obtain additional warrants for Ward’s arrests:

  • 4 counts of bank fraud
  • 62 counts of L.R.S. 14:72.2 Monetary Instrument Abuse
  • 6 counts of L.R.S. 14:69B(1) Illegal Possession of Stolen Things Over $25,000
  • 14 counts of L.R.S. 14:69B(2) Illegal Possession of Stolen Things Between $5,000 and $25,000
  • 36 counts of L.R.S. 14:69B(3)  Illegal Possession of Stolen Things Between $1,000 and $5,000
  • 375 counts of L.R.S. 14:69B(4) Illegal Possession of Stolen Things Under $1,000

On Monday, Ward turned himself in and was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail.