NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that DANIELLE DORSETT, age 54, and her brother, BYRON J. LAFOREST, age 50, both residents of Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier to conspiracy to use false or counterfeit passports. Judge Barbier scheduled their sentencings for January 5, 2023.
According to court records, beginning in November 2021, DORSETT and LAFOREST obtained counterfeit passport cards with the names and other details of victims whose personal identifying information they stole. While these cards had victims’ personal information, they had DORSETT’s or LAFOREST’s photograph. DORSETT and LAFOREST then used these cards to withdraw money from their victims’ bank accounts. Over the course of the conspiracy, DORSETT and LAFOREST used the personal information of at least six individuals to withdraw (or attempted to withdraw) funds from these individuals’ accounts. They withdrew money from bank branches in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.
The scheme drew to a close in early 2022. On January 28, 2022, DORSETT was arrested by Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies while attempting to obtain a victim’s bank statement at an IberiaBank branch in Harvey, Louisiana. DORSETT was released on bond after her arrest. Approximately two weeks later, on February 14, 2022, she and LAFOREST were arrested together at a hotel in New Orleans East by federal agents. In the hotel room, agents recovered several additional false passport cards that portrayed LAFOREST’s photograph, but provided the victims’ personal identifying information instead.
DORSETT and LAFOREST each face a sentence of up to five years in prison, a up to a $250,000 fine, up to three years of supervised release after imprisonment and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(2).
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Diplomatic Security Service’s New Orleans Field Office in investigating this matter. U.S. Attorney Evans thanked the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office for the 24th Judicial District for their assistance in this prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew R. Payne is in charge of the prosecution.
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