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Scam artist arrested in Benton

A Little Rock man suspected of running a million-dollar scam in checks and money orders is behind bars today after mailing a suspicious package to a Benton resident, police said.
Paul Wesley Faulkner, 49, of Little Rock is charged with nearly 600 counts of forgery.
Faulkner was taken into custody on Tuesday after sending a package to a Benton residence. The package reportedly contained nearly $3 million dollars in money orders, money-grams and credit union checks.
Faulkner was stopped by police and taken into custody while en route to the house.
“We believe this is one of those Nigerian scams,” Detective Eric Haworth said.
“People need to be aware that scams do exist, and if they come into contact with suspicious activity like this to contact the police. If they have possession of money-grams, money orders, checks and other forged items like this and try to pass them off, they can be charged with forgery, too.
He advised people who might encounter such activity to “just call the police.”
On Tuesday, a Benton woman who asked that her family’s identity not be revealed for fear of retaliation, said she received a suspicious package for Faulkner from an overseas shipping company. She told officers that she knew Faulkner from church and that he had asked to use her family’s address to send a package to help an orphanage in Africa. The woman and her husband also were told not to open the package when it arrived and to contact him.  
    When the package arrived, the woman said it felt like it might contain bundles of money and she decided to open it. She found that it contained several money orders.
    The police report said the package contained 100 Money Gram orders for $910;144 Western Union money orders for $460; 99 American Express money orders for $500; 35 Municipal Credit Union checks for $2,900; 30 Woodforest National Bank checks for $7,200; 154 Walmart Money Gram money orders for $970 and 30 Municipal Credit Union checks written for $25,000, $20,000, $15,000 and $3,700.
    Police said the total of all the items amounted to $2,859,336.
    The woman told police that Faulkner called a short time later and said he knew the package arrived and that he wanted to come get it. After picking up the package at the home, Faulkner was stopped a short time later at the Big Red Valero on Congo Road and immediately taken into custody.
    Faulkner was taken to the Saline County jail and charged with 592 counts of class C felony forgery counts and one count of class B felony use of another person’s property to facilitate a crime.
    Investigators said they determined the counterfeit checks and money orders were linked to an Internet scam that originated in Nigeria. Investigators also said the scam may be targeting people who are hearing-impaired.
    Faulkner is being held in the Saline County jail on a $10,000 bond, but a hold has been placed on him until he speaks with the U.S. Secret Service office in Little Rock, jail officials said. He is expected to appear before Saline County District Judge Mike Robinson for an additional bond hearing today.      

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August 11, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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