HOUSTON – An Humble woman is accused of using stolen credit card information to send money to several inmates in the Harris County Jail, including one who is accused of murdering a Bellaire police officer.
Loniquar Lonnett Stokes, 21, was charged with credit/ debit card abuse.
On July 16, a member of the Financial Crimes Task Force was assigned an investigation involving the use of a stolen Webster Bank debit card to put funds into several Harris County inmates’ trust funds.
The investigator contacted the inmate trust fund department to match transaction records. They discovered that $2,160 had been deposited into five inmate accounts between the period of July 3 and July 14.
One of the inmates who received money, Harlem Lewis, was charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of Cpl. Jimmie Norman, a 24-year-veteran of the Bellaire Police Department, and Maaco auto body shop owner Terry Taylor on Christmas Eve 2012.
Cpl. Norman tried to pull over Lewis for a routine traffic stop, but Lewis refused to stop. He led the officer on a chase, which ended outside Taylor’s Maaco auto body shop in the 5600 block of Bellaire. Cpl. Norman approached Lewis’s car and ordered him to get out. That is when Lewis allegedly shot Norman after a brief tussle. Lewis shot and killed Taylor when the business owner came outside to see what the commotion was about.
Stokes had made four $100 deposits into the accused cop killer’s account.
Another inmate, Benar Lewis, received more money than that. Investigators said Stokes made 15 deposits into his account, totaling $1500. Records show that Benar Lewis signed documents releasing $800 of the illicit funds back to Stokes. Benar Lewis confirmed this when questioned by investigators and told them that she was his girlfriend.
But when Stokes was questioned, not only did she deny making the deposits and the withdrawal, she denied having a boyfriend behind bars.
They went on to question other inmates who had received funds. One man, Keidron Taylor, said Stokes was his relative. He confirmed that she also sent him money and told investigators that she was Benar Lewis’ “baby mama.”
Investigators learned that Stokes was employed by Interactive Response Technologies. The company works as a call center processing payments for a variety of other companies. Stokes, they said, was assigned to the “Assurion” department. Assurion insures cell phones for loss.
Investigators then matched Stokes directly to the stolen credit card.
Records show that on July 3, Stokes took a claim for a woman who lost her cell phone, and in the process, received the woman’s debit card number and other identifying information to cover the cost of the deductible.
The owner of the card told investigators that she remembered the woman who helped her was “very nice.”
Investigators felt they had enough information to move forward against Stokes.
After being presented with the mountain of evidence, Stokes’ mother convinced her to confess. She then admitted to knowing Taylor, Benar Lewis and Harlem Lewis, and visiting them in jail, according to court documents.
She also said that Benar Lewis knew she was “broke” and was in on the scam. She said he knew exactly how she was able to send him so much money and was complicit in the “cashing out” on the $800.
Stokes’ bail was set at $15,000.