SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - A Slidell couple is behind bars for running a fraudulent credit card and identity theft operation, according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.
An investigation by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office Financial Crimes Unit resulted in 115 counterfeit credit cards, equipment used to make credit cards, and more than $25,000 worth of high-end shoes being seized.
Roland Celestine, 24 and Gariuan Hampton, 22, of Joseph Street in Slidell were arrested for bank fraud, identity theft, and monetary instrument abuse.
Detectives executed a search warrant at the Joseph Street residence and located counterfeit credit cards, credit card skimmers, electronic credit card encoding equipment, a credit card embossing machine, multiple computers, and more than 160 pairs of shoes that were purchased with the fraudulent credit cards.
According to police, Celestine and Hampton would steal credit card numbers by using skimming devices, and/or by purchasing stolen identities from the "dark web".
The couple would then take pre-paid gift cards, reprogram the magnetic strip with the fraudulent credit card information, and would then take it a step further by using their credit card embossing machine and emboss their names on the credit cards. The pair would then use the cards to make fraudulent purchases at local retail stores.
A majority of the purchases made were high-end shoes, which detectives estimate to be worth over $25,000.
Authorities are working to identify the actual victims whose credit card information was stolen.