Lake Charles, LA –
In August and September 2022, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Financial Crimes detectives received multiple complaints in reference to checks that had been left in the blue U.S. Postal Service drop boxes, being altered and fraudulently deposited into accounts other than the intended payees.
During the investigation, detectives were able to identify three suspects who were involved: Marcus D. Hafford, Jr., 23, Kountze, TX, Danna P. Saldierna, 20, Houston, TX, and Alexis M. Watler, 28, Lake Charles. Further investigation revealed Hafford met individuals through social media and convinced them to give him their bank account information with the promise of receiving money. Hafford would then deposit the stolen and altered checks into the individuals’ accounts that he met on social media. The account holders would give half the money to the suspects involved by paying them with cash or via electronic funds transfers.
Between January and March 2023, CPSO detectives issued warrants for the arrests of Hafford, Saldierna, and Watler. Detectives located Saldierna on February 7, and on March 13, detectives located Hafford; they were both arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center and charged with prohibited activities racketeering; theft from $5,000 to $25,000; and illegal transmission of monetary funds. Hafford was additionally charged with two counts of forgery (one of which was a separate warrant for a separate incident). Judge Derrick Kee set Saldierna’s bond at $70,000 and Judges Clayton Davis and Tony Fazzio set Hafford’s bond at $61,500; Hafford was later released.
Detectives are currently attempting to locate Watler, who is wanted for prohibited activities racketeering; theft from $5,000 to $25,000; and illegal transmission of monetary funds. Judge Derrick Kee set her bond at $70,000. If anyone knows her whereabouts, they are asked to call CPSO at 491-3605.
The investigation is ongoing with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office and further arrests are likely. CPSO Detective Steffan Weekly is the lead investigator on these cases.
An arrest is an indication that probable cause exists to believe the subject was involved in the offense alleged. A person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.