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Kosciusko County officers arrest two Illinois women in Nigerian scam

Posted on Aug. 1, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Aug. 1, 2013 at 10:59 a.m.

WARSAW — Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department detectives recently arrested two Illinois women who police say were involved in a scam of a Kosciusko County resident and others in the United States.

Desiree Starlette Blackburn, 20, and Barbara Ickes, 39, both of Harvard, Ill., face preliminary felony charges of corrupt business influence and control and attempted theft. Ickes was also preliminarily charged with felony forgery.

A Kosciusko County resident contacted detectives who believed he was being scammed with a fraudulent transaction. Officers investigated the check provided by the resident and discovered it was part of a well-known international scam, according to a press release from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department. Detectives followed the trail of fraudulent checks to Ickes at her home in Illinois, where police found an elaborate “check-printing” process with fake banks and a list of other potential victims through the U.S., according to the press release.

Ickes gave information to police that implicated Blackburn. She also told police that the scam began in October 2012 and they were forwarding money to a location in Nigeria. Police seized equipment and computers from the home, which are being analyzed by the Indiana State Police Cyber Crimes Unit.

Information was also shared with the Secret Service to determined if federal authorities can further the investigation.

Both Blackburn and Ickes are being held at Kosciusko County Jail on individual $20,000 bonds.