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AR- BCSO arrests man for identity theft

12-31-2005 Arkansas:

BENTON COUNTY - A routine traffic stop resulted in the arrest of a Siloam Springs man who allegedly stole more than $20,000 through credit-card and tax fraud, according to a news release from the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

Charles Robbins, an investigator with the BCSO Drug Interdiction Team, stopped Matthew Buescher, 35, on Wednesday. Buescher was initially arrested for driving on a suspended license.

When an inventory of the vehicle was done, Robbins discovered a backpack in the back seat. The backpack contained several file folders and credit cards with different names. The file folders contained personal identification information obtained over the Internet via University of Arkansas computers. The identification information was of people from Indiana who had either been convicted or accused of sexualrelated crimes. Another file contained credit-report information on several people.

After Buescher was taken to the Sheriff's Office, he told Criminal Investigation Division investigator Jeremy Felton he had obtained the personal information to apply for and receive bank accounts, including credit cards.

It was discovered in another file folder found in the backpack that Buescher had filed several false tax returns with the state of Iowa for the purpose of defrauding the government out of thousands of dollars in tax refunds. Those refund checks would be sent to vacant houses and picked up at a later time, or the funds would be deposited electronically into false bank accounts.

In all, Buescher indicated he stole around $20,000. Buescher also said most of the money was used for gambling in Oklahoma.

Buescher is being held in the Benton County Jail awaiting a bond hearing for the charge of financial identity fraud, a class C felony. The crime is punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years and a $10,000 fine. ..more.. by Jennifer Turner Staff Writer jennifert@nwanews.

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