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Three women charged with bank fraud at Baton Rouge businesses

Three women were charged recently with bank fraud after prosecutors said they cashed more than $77,000 in counterfeit checks at Baton Rouge businesses. The indictment of the three women is part of a wide-ranging investigation into allegations of money laundering, drug dealing and other federal crimes at a Baton Rouge convenience store.

According to prosecutors, the three women flew into Baton Rouge from other states and cashed checks that were written for more than $7,000, each at local businesses, including liquor stores, convenience stores and a payday lending business. One of the convenience stores, Quality Express, has been under investigation for a long time amid allegations that its corporate owners were laundering large amounts of money for drug dealers.

Earlier this year, two of the store's corporate owners pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and other corporate crimes. Two former employees were convicted of selling large quantities of the marijuana and ecstasy in the store's parking lot.

A conviction on federal charges comes with long-term consequences that go beyond any jail time served. Those convicted will have a felony on their record, interfering with their personal and professional lives for decades to come.

All those accused of money laundering or other federal crimes are entitled to a defense. It is important to remember that building a defense in a case involving allegations of complex business dealings, such as money laundering is often much more technically demanding than building a defense against charges of other types of crimes. It's important that Louisiana residents accused of money laundering or other white collar crimes seek guidance from experienced legal professionals who will be able to build the strongest possible defense in cases like theirs.

Source: The Advocate, "Three women named in counterfeiting indictment," Bill Lodge, Sept. 13, 2013

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