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Defendants extradited nationwide in Louisiana casino fraud case

Theft of sensitive personal information has never been easier. You don't have to lose a wallet or have mail stolen to have another person take advantage of your finances. The Internet can be used to access or buy records containing enough data to produce convincing credit cards.

Credit card fraud, which can encompass a series of serious charges, is a white collar crime with equally significant consequences. An ID theft charge in Louisiana can lead to hard-labor imprisonment, fines and restitution. The severity of punishment is largely based on the value of items illegally obtained.

Law enforcement authorities reported Harrah's New Orleans Casino was hit by over $140,000 in illegal credit card transactions in the last two years. Seven recent fraud arrests were made, either at the casino or out of state.

Some defendants are being extradited to face prosecution, including a woman accused of stealing $4,000 from Harrah's in January. State police said the defendant was arrested last month at an airport after investigators put a name with a person seen making a pair of fraudulent transactions on a casino surveillance video.

Louisiana law enforcers filed individual charges for the credit card scheme but gave no information about whether or how the defendants were connected. All parties have been charged with thefts on different occasions at the same casino.

Among the charges against the woman spotted on video are identity theft, forgery and possession of fake documents used for identification. Investigators said the casino transactions were made with two credit cards in the defendant's name using stolen numbers.

Defendants often become aware they are under investigation for identity theft before an arrest. This is the best time to line up a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney has a greater chance of minimizing the impact of harsh criminal charges the earlier a counselor is retained. A lawyer can also serve as your spokesperson.

Source: nola.com, "Rhode Island woman arrested, extradited to New Orleans in casino fraud investigation" Danielle Bell, Nov. 08, 2013

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