A man and woman claiming to be “sovereign citizens, ” Lewis Giles Jr. 50, and his daughter, Kayla LaShawn Giles, 23, both of LaPlace, were arrested Thursday, June 15, 2023 in connection to a major financial crimes investigation conducted by the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office.
In a previous financial crimes investigation of Giles, along with the current case, Giles now faces nearly 150 charges of false public filings.
In April detectives began an investigation after receiving a burglary complaint in reference to the filing of false public documents/records with the St. John Parish Clerk of Court’s Office. The investigation focused on the complaint of falsified/forged land “Allodial” ownership deeds that claimed “ownership” and/or possession of properties and residences in St. John the Baptist Parish not owned by Giles Jr. or Kayla Giles. Through the use of mail and falsified public filings, both Giles Jr. and his daughter conspired to unlawfully deprive and remove/evict the proper registered owners of the respective residences from the public record.
On June 14, 2023, officers received a complaint from another government agency and a local Justice of the Peace of possible fraud committed by Giles Jr. against another empty residence in St. John the Baptist Parish. Detectives learned Giles Jr. was reporting a public notice in a local newspaper that indicated Giles was attempting to claim ownership of the property.
The false public filings were similar to the separate, past scheme in which Giles Jr. was arrested for using the same tactics and methods.
Based on investigation, SWAT officers and detectives arrested for Giles Jr.’s and Kayla Giles in LaPlace and apprehended them. Giles Jr. was charged with criminal conspiracy, 15 counts of forgery, 15 counts of injuring public records, and 15 counts of filing false public records. He was released June 15, 2023.
Since 2003, Giles Jr. has been arrested six times for various charges including domestic abuse battery, simple battery, molestation of a juvenile, simple assault, no driver’s license, resisting an officer, contributing to the delinquency of juveniles; and recently for simple burglary, filing or maintaining false public records (33 counts), injuring public records (33 counts), and forgery (33).
After initially resisting arrest, Kayla Giles was apprehended. During booking, she also lied about her identity. She was charged with criminal conspiracy, two counts of perjury (felony), two counts of false swearing (misd), 15 counts of injuring public records (felony), 15 counts of filing or maintaining false public records; two counts of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle upon a peace officers (felony), flight from an officer by vehicle (misd), misrepresentation during booking (misd), careless operation, and 15 counts of forgery (felony). He was released June 15, 2023.
“Mr. Giles may be looking to take someone’s home ….. again, right now. He will actually challenge you – even fight you – for your own home,” Sheriff Mike Tregre said. “That causes me great concern. …. People need to be aware of this type of activity in our local neighborhoods and surrounding communities. …. He will move into and try to take ownership of an empty home.”
Sheriff Tregre encourages property owners to take steps to protect their empty residences.
He urges property owners to regularly inspect property for damages and signs of squatters. Keep up the grounds and residence as much as possible. Keep in touch with your next door neighbors and ask them to keep a watchful eye on your property. Make sure to pay property taxes. Block entrances, including windows to prevent a squatter from entering the property. Regularly check mail. Property owners also need to keep in touch with the parish’s Assessor’s Office and Clerk of Court’s Office.