Reporting Bob Roberts
(CBS) – Two women from far northwest suburban Harvard are accused of working with a large-scale Nigerian-based scam.
Indiana State Police and sheriff’s police in Kosciusko County, Ind., 125 miles southeast of Chicago, are going through seized computers to try to determine how many people 39-year-old Barbara Ickes and 20-year-old Desiree Blackburn allegedly defrauded.
The investigation began with a complaint from a Warsaw, Ind., man who told sheriff’s police that he had been scammed. Police were able to follow the trail of the fraudulent check back to Ickes’ Harvard home. Armed with a search warrant, Harvard Police seized bogus check-manufacturing equipment, which bore the name of fictitious financial institutions, computers and a list alleged to be those of potential victims.
The Indiana State Police Cyber Crimes unit detectives and technicians working with sheriff’s police have shared information with the U.S. Secret Service to determine if federal authorities can take the investigation further.
Police said the women allegedly forwarded “earnest” money to Nigeria for nine months. Both women are charged with felony corrupt business influence and control, as well as felony attempted theft. Other charges could be forthcoming as the investigation widens. A Kosciusko Superior Court judge set bond for each woman at $20,000.