MH man who manipulated grandmother into cashing stolen checks for him pleads guilty

A Mountain Home man charged with forging and passing stolen checks with the help of his unsuspecting grandmother appeared during a session of Baxter County Circuit Court Thursday.

Thirty-seven-year-old Brandon Jay McFarland pled guilty to forgery and theft of property charges and was put on probation for six years and ordered to pay $1,400 in victim restitution. It was announced in court a large part of the restitution had been paid.

According to court records, McFarland was accused of stealing the checks from 36-year-old Duane Burr who was serving time in the Baxter County Detention Center when the checks were passed. McFarland enlisted his grandmother’s help by telling her he had gotten the checks from Burr as payment for work he had allegedly done for the man.

The grandmother, who reported the situation to police, said between Feb. 25 and 27, she had gone to her bank with McFarland and helped him cash four checks totaling $1,400.

Investigators reported the account linked to the checks had been closed since 2002. Two additional checks were unaccounted for at the time the probable cause affidavit was written.

According to court records, McFarland and Burr were arrested on drug-related charges when police served a search warrant on a residence along Circle Drive in May last year. Officers found McFarland and Burr in the residence, along with a number of items of drug paraphernalia. Investigators said Burr identified allegedly stolen property he said individuals had brought to his residence and traded for methamphetamine.

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