Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested a mother and son from Geismar on Friday on dozens of counts of producing fake vehicle inspection stickers after uncovering a rash of cars and trucks with the fake stickers, deputies reported.
Deputies arrested Kelly Williams, 31, and his mother, Alphalia Hernandez, 61, both of 11236 Emerson Road, Geismar, about 2:30 p.m. at their home on multiple counts of forgery of motor vehicle inspection sticker certificates, deputies said.
Lt. Col. Bobby Webre, chief of criminal operations for the Sheriff’s Office, said motorcycle patrol officers began noticing the bogus inspection stickers over the past month and half during stepped-up enforcement efforts in Donaldsonville.
He said deputies have issued more than 100 misdemeanor citations to drivers with the false inspection stickers in the Donaldsonville area.
As the citations mounted, Webre said, investigators learned where the stickers were coming from and that drivers had been paying about $40 for a fake sticker. He said deputies searched Williams’ and Hernandez’s home on Emerson on Friday and found a computer, printer, scanner, $4,000 and nearly 140 fake inspections stickers.
Williams’ and Hernandez’s counts were based on the discovery of the additional fake stickers at their home, Webre said. Williams was arrested on 120 counts; Hernandez on 19 counts, deputies said.
Investigators are still probing the mother’s and son’s connection to fake stickers found during traffic stops in the past month and a half and additional counts could be forthcoming, Webre said.
Legitimate inspection stickers cost $18 in Ascension, East Baton Rouge and three other parishes in the Baton Rouge area, according to the Louisiana State Police website.
Webre speculated that the price for the fake stickers was higher because some vehicles that had the bogus stickers might not have gotten legitimate stickers without expensive repairs first.
“So the cheapest way out is buying a fake one,” he said.
The stickers are affixed to the lower left-hand corner of a vehicle’s windshield. Webre said the fake stickers were being caught by deputies patrolling on motorcycles.
He said similar discoveries have not been made on the east bank of Ascension. Donaldsonville is on the parish’s west bank.
Conviction on the felony forgery count can bring a fine of up to $5,000, a prison sentence of up to five years, or both, on each count, state law says.