- During a nearly one-year period, Frank Buchanan
allegedly made about 192 purchases on two credit cards at various stores.
What was out of the ordinary, however, was that the 30-year-old Buchanan also allegedly had about 183 refunds on those cards.
The rural Albert Lea man's transaction history, authorities say, demonstrated an obvious purchase-return pattern mainly involving video games at multiple stores in numerous southeastern Minnesota and northern Iowa cities, including Austin and Rochester, according to a criminal complaint filed this week in Mower District Court.
Overall $23,178 in refunds was credited to Buchanan's accounts during that period, the complaint says.
Buchanan's alleged scam consisted of buying video games from stores, repackaging the containers with blank replica game discs, returning the fraudulent games for a refund and selling the original games on eBay, an online-auction site. From October 2006 to January 2008, Buchanan auctioned off about 447 video games on eBay for roughly $19,562, the complaint says.
Buchanan is charged in Mower District Court with three felony counts of theft by swindle alleging he obtained credit for fraudulent merchandise at area Target, Wal-Mart, ShopKo and Kmart stores.
One count alleges Buchanan...