BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A former Rogers City Council candidate has been arrested for allegedly defrauding a Northwest Arkansas church.
Billy Lee Weaver III, 44, was arrested on Sept. 18 for three counts of theft of property and one count of fraudulent use of a credit card.
According to court documents, the Rogers Police Department received a report on Aug. 25 that Weaver, who also goes by “Trey Weaver,” had stolen around $71,000 from the Mount Hebron Historical Church and Cemetery Fund.
The documents say that Weaver is the president of the organization.
The person that notified the police stated that they were made aware of the theft from the bank, and that after reviewing the bank statements, it appeared as if Weaver used the account as his personal checking account until it was nearly empty.
Detectives were provided bank statements from the account. On Oct. 15, 2021, the account balance was $72,055.85. The account balance on Aug. 18, 2023, was $14.44.
Numerous personal transactions were made to businesses such as Chick-Fil-A, Walmart, Banana Republic, Apple and Doordash.
Additionally, the bank statement showed transactions from Print Place on Sept. 9, 2022, for $413.29 and from Oct. 9, 2022, for $339.89.
The September transaction was reportedly for 2,000 “campaign doorhangers.” The October transaction was for an additional 1,600 doorhangers.
According to court documents, Print Place staff told police that the artwork for the hangers included slogans such as “Elect Trey Weaver for City Council.”
“Other transactions show a pattern of activity which appears to correspond with life events shown on Trey’s Facebook page such as a trip to Branson, MO, for a dance competition and with Trey’s efforts to campaign for Rogers City Council in 2022,” court documents said.
Weaver ran for the Rogers City Council Ward 3 position in 2022. He placed third in the election with 13.49% of the vote.
Weaver reportedly went to the Rogers Police Department on Sept. 8 to speak with investigators. He stated that he “misused” around $70,000 from the Mount Hebron Historical Church and Cemetery Fund, and that this started around January 2022.
Weaver said that a contributing factor to his alleged behavior was his wife losing her job in the first few months of 2022. He said that the payments started out as house payments. He said that he had plans to pay back the funds with several “large transactions” that he had set up, but they all fell through.
Weaver’s first court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 23 in Benton County. He’s currently out on a $10,000 bond.