Laughtons say they are not guilty of identity theft

  • Published in Local News

Barry C. Laughton, Jr., 23, and his wife Lisa, 36, entered not guilty pleas at their arraignment on charges of identity theft and credit card fraud in Laconia District Court yesterday and were released on $15,000 personal recognizance bail. In 2005 Barry Laughton ran for the City Council in Ward 3 under the slogan "Barry for Laconia" and last year was an at-large candidate for the School Board, receiving only a few handfuls of votes in both races. The couple were arrested in July ...

Barry C. Laughton, Jr., 23, and his wife Lisa, 36, entered not guilty pleas at their arraignment on charges of identity theft and credit card fraud in Laconia District Court yesterday and were released on $15,000 personal recognizance bail. In 2005 Barry Laughton ran for the City Council in Ward 3 under the slogan "Barry for Laconia" and last year was an at-large candidate for the School Board, receiving only a few handfuls of votes in both races. The couple were arrested in July after police say they found items at their apartment at 103 Blueberry Lane, which had been purchased with a fraudulently obtained credit card, along with receipts from transactions made with the same card. Police say they also found numerous pieces of mail, opened and unopened, addressed to the person in whose name they obtained the credit card. Both the Laughtons are charged with conspiracy to commit fraudulent use of a credit card and conspiracy to commit identity theft, both class A felonies. In addition, Barry Laughton is charged with falsifying physical evidence, a class B felony, and his wife with conspiracy to falsify physical evidence, also a class B felony. According to the affidavit in support of the search warrant of Detective Kevin Butler, the investigation leading to the charges against the Laughtons began in May when a resident of The Tavern apartments on Church Street in downtown area, where the Laughtons once lived, told Officer Alan Graton that she was informed by Citibank that a MasterCard in her name may have been used fraudulently. She said that she had never applied for a Citibank credit card. Contacting Citibank, Graton learned that numerous charges had been placed on the card in the Laconia area since the account was opened on April 10, 2007. One of the charges was a payment of $213.43 to Metrocast Cablevision on April 16. A search of Metrocast Cablevision's billing records revealed that the account paid with the card was in the name of the Laughtons at their address on Blueberry Lane. In June Butler obtained sales receipts from Blooms Variety showing that dish cloths, a potholder and an oven mitt — all festooned with apples — along with a three-piece bath set, shower liner magnet and memory fit gate, were purchased with the card in April. Likewise, sales receipts from Wal-Mart in Gilford indicated that two laptop computers, a printer, cable and yarn were bought with the card. When police searched the Laughtons' apartment, they found some of the items represented by the sales receipts as well as receipts from Fashion Bug, BJ's Wholesale Club and Home Depot recording other purchases made with the card. Police allege that Barry Laughton disposed of two laptop computers, two cellular phones and a computer printer after he learned from his wife that police were investigating the use of the suspect credit card. Altogether police estimate that more than $3,000 in payments and purchases were charged to the card.