Assumption ParishLocal News

Investigation Into Illegal Check Cashing Scheme Leads To Several Arrests

PIERRE PART – Assumption Parish Sheriff Leland Falcon reports the arrests of three suspects and warrants filed against two additional individuals in connection with an investigation into an illegal check cashing scheme in Pierre Part, LA.

On August 5, 2020, detectives initiated an investigation into counterfeit payroll checks being cashed at a Pierre Part business.

Through investigation, detectives determined that payroll checks (counterfeit) drawn on other local businesses had been presented and cashed.

Through a lengthy investigative process, detectives were able to identify four suspects who presented the fraudulent checks for cashing.

Those suspects are identified as:

*Garrett Hopwood 26, of 22741 Brittney Renee, Zachary, LA

*Tricia Cortez, 32, of 21450 Jon Michelle, Zachary, LA

*Alvin Johnson, 36, of 7603 Oakmount Drive, Baton Rouge, LA

*Sarah White, 34, of 15335 Seven Pines, Baton Rouge, LA

Warrants were obtained for each suspect’s arrest.

_Garrett Hopwood was arrested on August 13, 2020 in East Baton Rouge Parish. He was transferred to Assumption Parish on August 14, 2020 and booked into the Assumption Parish Detention Center on charges of:

*Bank Fraud


*Monetary Instrument Abuse

*Theft Under $1,000

*Parole Violation

*Warrant – Rayne Police Department (Hold)

Hopwood’s bond on the Assumption charges is $45,000 and he is being held without bond on the parole violation.

_Tricia Cortez was arrested the same day by East Baton Rouge Parish. She is currently being held in that jurisdiction on unrelated charges and will be transferred to Assumption Parish at a later date.

_Alvin Johnson and Sarah White are both wanted on charges of:


*Bank Fraud

*Monetary Instrument Abuse

*Theft Under $1,000

Efforts are currently underway to locate and arrest them.

Through further investigation, a fifth suspect was identified. Anthony Vega, 36, of 12946 Tannehill Lane, Walker, LA, was arrested on Monday with the assistance of Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office. He was transferred to Assumption Parish and booked into the Assumption Parish Detention Facility on charges of:

*Bank Fraud (4 Counts)

*Forgery (4 Counts)

*Monetary Instrument Abuse (4 Counts)

*Felony Theft (1 Count)

A search warrant was executed at Vega’s residence in Denham Springs and detectives did recover evidence relevant to this investigation. Anthony Vega remains incarcerated pending a bond hearing.

Anthony Vega has an extensive criminal history of similar offenses.

The probe is continuing and the Sheriff’s Office will report accordingly.


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