Minden Press-Herald

Thursday
Oct 02nd

When being a ‘Secret Shopper’ doesn’t pay

Woman arrested for bank fraud

A Minden woman found out the hard way that working as  a Secret Shopper pays off in fraudulent dividends.

Teresa Stock, 39, of the 200 block of Virginia Ave, Minden, has been arrested by Minden Police and charged with bank fraud, as well as possession of CDS Sch. I (marijuana).

She is joined by two other inhabitants of her residence, Johnathan Langley, 20, and Eric Bailey, 39, on the possession charges.

stockMinden Police Chief Steve Cropper said Det. Heath Balkom was contacted by the operations manager of a local bank concerning Stock, who had cashed a $1,965 fraudulent check in February.

“The bank has video of Stock coming into the bank where she identified herself as a ‘secret shopper’ and convinced the bank to cash this check,” Cropper said. “When it turned out that the check was bogus, the bank made contact with her and informed her she would have to reimburse them for the money.”
Cropper said Stock came to the police station and asked him what to do.

“I told her the bank has the option to pursue her criminally if she doesn’t reimburse the money,” he said. Cropper also said he asked Stock if she had been contacted by the bank.

Eric_BaileyJohnathan_Langley“She said she had not heard from them, but in fact, she had,” Cropper said.

The bank allegedly gave Stock around 60 days to reimburse the money. When she didn’t, the chief said the bank reported going to her home. She would not answer the door, nor would she answer phone calls from the bank.

“At that point, bank officials elected to pursue charges, and they contacted Detective Balkom,” said the chief. “He investigated and obtained a warrant on her.”
Cropper said when officers went to Stock’s Virginia Avenue residence, they reportedly noticed a smell they believed to be burnt marijuana.

“They asked Stock if they could come in and look around, and she allowed it,” Cropper said. “That’s when they made the other two arrests.”

In addition to possession charges, Langley was reportedly on probation and a hold has been placed on him by Probation and Parole.

Bailey was also wanted as a fugitive from the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Cropper said Stock could probably have avoided her problems if she had checked out the “Secret Shopper” company in more detail or had contacted the bank to reimburse the money.

“The old adage is true,” he said. “It sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and if it’s a scam, it can come back and get you.”

 

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