16 Arrested and 18 Suspects Still Wanted in Connection with $9.8 Million Louisiana Auto Theft and Fraud Investigation

By Seraphina Frost
Published July 29, 2023

Share This:

16 people have been arrested and there are still 18 suspects wanted in connection with a $9.8 million Louisiana auto theft and fraud investigation.

In January 2022, a team of detectives from the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Unit launched an investigation into numerous irregular transactions at Public Tag Agencies (PTAs) and Auto Title Companies (ATCs) across the state. Throughout the probe, they identified 34 individuals suspected of collectively handling 180 cars with tampered or fraudulent paperwork. These suspects allegedly manipulated these documents to understate the actual cost of the vehicles, thereby evading taxes. The detectives discovered that some of the vehicles reported stolen earlier, resurfaced in the civilian market, but with their unique identifiers disguised or hidden. The total monetary value of the vehicles implicated in this case is currently projected to exceed $9.8 million. Additionally, the total estimated tax evasion is over $300,000.

As the investigation progressed, detectives discovered that the people involved were part of a criminal group involved in illegal activities. These individuals either worked individually or combined efforts to conduct fraudulent practices and theft in Louisiana, for financial gain. Louisiana State Police has now secured full extradition arrest orders for 18 suspects who are still on the run (see featured image for suspects). Up till now, 16 people have been apprehended on the accusations of Forgery, Filing False Public Records, and Felony Theft.

Conducting investigations, particularly on a large scale, requires time and a collaborative team effort. The Louisiana State Police expressed their gratitude to several agencies for their support throughout this investigation. These include the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, Louisiana Department of Revenue, National Insurance Crime Bureau, Houston Police Department (Texas), Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office (Texas), and several other local law enforcement agencies. 

The Louisiana State Police are appealing to anyone with information regarding this investigation to get in touch with their Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Unit via the Breaux Bridge Field Office at (337) 332-8080 or [email protected]. The investigation is still in progress, and further charges may be pending for all parties involved.

Those already arrested in connection with this case include:

  • 35-year-old Errean Centeno of Covington, Louisiana
  • 35-year-old Tashia Hubbard of Willis, Texas
  • 30-year-old Willie Tolbert of Cleveland, Texas
  • 46-year-old Kenneth Redding of Houston, Texas
  • 33-year-old Leigha Garner of Conroe, Texas
  • 31-year-old Alaric Cowart of Houston, Texas
  • 56-year-old Raynaldo Hernandez III of Houston, Texas
  • 34-year-old Samuel Thompson of Conroe, Texas
  • 20-year-old Angel Gamino of Houston, Texas
  • 40-year-old Maria Cantu of Houston, Texas
  • 26-year-old Shawn Carden of Humble, Texas
  • 31-year-old Amber Archer of Belleview, Florida
  • 39-year-old Tabatha McMullan of Houston, Texas
  • 27-year-old Joshua Gipson of Humble, Texas
  • 25-year-old Jacob Hurtado of Humble, Texas
  • 25-year-old Jacob Hurtado of Humble, Texas

An arrest is an indication that probable cause exists to believe the subject was involved in the offense alleged. All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.