Lawrence woman charged with 9 counts of identity theft; she’s accused of stealing from coworkers at dentist’s office

photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World

A Lawrence Police Department patrol vehicle is pictured June 28, 2022.

Story updated at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday:

A Lawrence woman has been charged with multiple counts of identity theft after police alleged that she charged thousands of dollars to 18 people’s bank accounts.

Billie Jean Peterson, 25, was arrested Tuesday afternoon at around 1:20 p.m. at Lawrence police headquarters, 5100 Overland Drive. On Wednesday, she was formally charged in Douglas County District Court with nine counts of identity theft, according to court documents.

Police began investigating Peterson in March after some of Peterson’s coworkers at a local dentist’s office were discussing fraudulent charges on their bank accounts, according to a Lawrence police news release. The workers contacted police with their shared experience, according to the release.

Investigators interviewed dozens of potential victims and traced a series of fraudulent charges connected to Peterson dating back to June of 2021. Police allege that Peterson has victimized her coworkers at multiple dentist’s offices she has worked at in the last year but also targeted acquaintances and her neighbors, according to the release.

Peterson was released Wednesday afternoon on a $50,000 own-recognizance bond, according to the Douglas County Jail booking log.

On Wednesday afternoon, Heartland Community Health Center, which operates a Lawrence dental practice among other services, said via a press release that Peterson was employed at Heartland from June 2021 to November 2021. However, a Heartland spokeswoman said Heartland officials are not aware of any evidence that shows patients have been affected. The spokeswoman said Heartland has been cooperating with the Lawrence Police Department on the investigation.


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