Six Arrested for Fraud Attempts at Casper Banks After High-Speed Chase
Six people from the Chicago, Ill. area -- one of whom refused to give his name to police --were arrested over the weekend after allegedly trying to defraud several Casper banks and leading authorities on a high-speed chase through multiple counties.
Darniesha S. Perry, 25, was arrested for conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and possession of a forgery device.
Lisa Earlene Cotton, 24, was booked for unlawful use of a credit card, two charges of possession of forged writings and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.
Latifah Fatimah Muhammad, 26, was arrested for possession of a forgery device, two counts of unlawful use of a credit card and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.
Stacey A. Walker, 30, was taken into custody on suspicion of interference, possession of a forgery device, two counts of unlawful use of a credit card and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.
Chevelle D. Carter, 25, was booked on several alleged traffic offenses.
Jail records indicate a man listed as "John Doe" was arrested for two counts of credit card fraud, two charges of possession of forged writings and interference. A booking photograph and charges are anticipated after police learn his identity.
Court documents say the group tried to use fraudulent credit cards to get cash advances from several different banks in Casper, including Jonah Bank, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of the West.
A Casper police detective was investigating at roughly 3 p.m. Friday. Banks reported several African-American women were involved and they were taken from bank to bank in two vehicles, a silver SUV and a black SUV.
Shortly after 3:30 p.m., an officer went to Bank of the West for a fraud report and found the woman who was accused of trying to get a cash advance
The officer talked to the woman, who identified herself as Lisa Cotton, and ended up taking her to the police station after Cotton allegedly admitted to trying to get cash advances.
Tellers told officers Cotton had tried to use a credit card to get an advance of $1,000, but the teller she spoke with had already been informed of previous attempts to get cash advances at a different bank. So, the teller held the credit card and Cotton's identification card. That's when Cotton left.
In an interview, Cotton reportedly told police someone she met in Riverdale, Ill. asked her if she wanted to make some "quick cash."
Before coming to Casper, Cotton received two credit cards with her name on them. She was told to go into banks and try to use the cards for a cash advance. Any money Cotton got was to be returned to the man who evidently organized the scheme; he promised to split the money with her.
Cotton was brought to Casper in a silver SUV, having left Chicago on Tuesday. She remembered at one point seeing someone in the silver SUV talking to someone in a black SUV. The group evidently traveled through Omaha, Neb., Denver, Colo. and Laramie before arriving in Casper.
In Casper, Cotton was unsuccessful in her attempts to get cash advances.
At roughly the time detectives interviewed Cotton, a police officer was trying to find the black SUV, which was identified as a Dodge Durango with Florida license plates. Johan Bank on Second Street had just reported a fraud, saying a black man and woman had just left the bank in a black Durango.
The officer was westbound on Second Street near Denver Mattress when he found the Durango. He stopped the SUV near Pizza Ranch, and a state trooper arrived to assist.
But as the officer approached the driver's side, the SUV took off.
The officer ran back to his patrol car and gave chase. The Durango blew through at least one red light and was driven recklessly before the officer decided it was best to stop the chase for public safety.
But the Wyoming Highway Patrol found the Durango southbound on I-25 and chased the SUV through multiple counties. Eventually, troopers were able to arrest everyone in the SUV after the Durango went off the road into a ditch. One of the suspects reported hitting her head.
"John Doe," the man who refused to give his name to authorities, was apparently the ringleader. He reportedly through papers out of the SUV during the police chase.
Troopers also saw a black object thrown from the Durango during the chase, according to an affidavit. Platte County Sheriff's deputies also assisted in the pursuit.
One of those deputies later found the black object, which was purportedly a credit card "skimmer" -- a device used to remove or put information onto a blank credit card. Such devices are often used to commit credit card fraud.
A search of the Durango reportedly turned up a laptop computer, which would be necessary to use the credit card skimmer.
The laptop was set to be searched pending issuance of a warrant. As of Saturday evening, footage from bank security cameras was still being collected.
The investigation continues.