These two individuals have been arrested and Lartigue encourages anyone who has been approached and may have given money to either of them to contact the police department.
Multiple people have come forward and stated that the stories being told by these two suspects are used to scam people.
“We have been told that the male suspect claims illness in the family,” Lartigue said. “And the female uses the story that she has a baby that is dying and needs gas money to get to the hospital, which is out of town.”
Lartigue added that these stories are not true. He said, “The suspects approached businesses, places of worship and elderly people to prey on their kindness. We want anyone that gave them money to know that they are not alone. If you gave either of these suspects money we need to know about it.”
Lartigue also added that the information obtained by the police department will be used to provide evidence to the district attorney’s office for prosecution.
Melissa Fontenot Richardson, 44, 1021 C.J. Drive, Ville Platte, was arrested on June 18, and charged with forgery, unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling and theft by fraud over $500. Richardson was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail were she remains incarcerated on a $30,000 bond set by 13th Judicial District Judge John Larry Vidrine.
Donald Ray Mitchell, 46, 424 Shuff Road, Ville Platte, also was arrested on June 18, and charged with cheating and swindling the public. Mitchell remains incarcerated at the Ville Platte City Jail. No bond information was available at press time.
If you have given money to either of these suspects, please contact the Ville Platte Police Department and speak to the secretary in investigations at 363-1313.