Alleged Baby Funeral Scammers Arrested

Similar cases were reported in San Diego last year

By Lauren Steussy
|  Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012  |  Updated 7:52 PM PDT
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 Alleged Baby Funeral Scammers Arrested

Three people in Modesto were arrested for allegedly taking donations for a made-up baby funeral.

Three people in Modesto were arrested for allegedly taking donations for a made-up baby funeral.

The suspects solicited donations from drivers at two intersections in the Central California city. They held up a sign depicting an infant and reading “Funeral Donations,” according to city officials.

Officers were suspicious of the individuals after similar crimes were reported in other areas, including in San Diego. They were questioned by police, who determined the suspects were lying about the baby.

Mark Barajas, Janie Barajas and Lisa Barajas we arrested, and now face charges of defrauding the public and conspiracy. They were booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.

The suspects in Modesto are different from those arrested in San Diego October of last year for the same alleged crime.

Heather Nichols, 21, Catherine Mendez, 23, Chastity Doll, 20, and Jamari Carter, 26, were arrested in Fontana after allegedly running scams in Arizona and Southern California, including in San Diego.

The panhandling scam asked for funeral donations for a baby and netted up to $1,400 a day. The suspects in that case used an image of a baby taken from the internet.

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