Months-long investigation leads to arrest of Lawrence fraud suspect

generic(KWCH 12)
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:19 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Lawrence Police Department Investigators arrested a local woman with cause to believe she took advantage of co-workers, acquaintances, and a neighbor by stealing their personal identifying information and fraudulently charging thousands of dollars to the victims’ accounts over several months.

Billie Jean Peterson, 25, of Lawrence was taken into custody and charged with felony theft along with 26 counts of criminal use of a financial card, 28 counts of unlawful computer acts, and 56 counts of identity theft – 111 total counts involving 18 evidence-based victims and additional witnesses.

The investigation began in March when a small group of women who worked with Peterson at a local dental office compared notes about fraudulent charges on their bank cards. After gathering paperwork and facts from their banks, the women called the Lawrence Police Department. Patrol Officers responded to the initial call, took the reports, and forwarded them to the Investigations Unit where the lead investigator dug deeper.

A trail led by evidence and dozens of interviews found potential victims dating back as far as June 2021 and enough facts to gain a search warrant. The warrant, executed in April, resulted in additional clues and more potential victims. Peterson has held jobs at several dental offices during this time, but the crimes were not limited to co-workers. Managers and employees at each of the clinics have been helpful and cooperative during the investigation.

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