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Police track suspected scam to Illinois


Scam someone in Kosciusko County and you just might get a knock on the door, even if you live a couple hundred miles away.

Two Illinois women accused of being involved in a Nigerian scam have been arrested by Kosciusko sheriff's detectives.

Desiree Starlette Blackburn, 20, and Barbara Ickes, 39, of Harvard, Ill., which is less than 200 miles away by traveling U.S. 30 and Interstate 90, have been preliminarily charged with felony corrupt business influence and control, as well as felony attempted theft after a county resident called police to say he was sure he was getting scammed, the sheriff's department said.

Detectives took a close look at a check provided by the victim and identified it as a part of the well-known scam, then followed the trail back to Ickes at her home northwest of Chicago.

Officers said they found an elaborate check-printing process with fictitious banking institutions, along with lists of other potential victims.

Ickes provided detectives with information that implicated Blackburn and her involvement in the scam that may have begun in October 2012 when they began forwarding money to a location in Nigeria, the sheriff's department said.

Detectives seized equipment and computers that are being analyzed by the Indiana State Police Cyber Crimes Unit.

Ickes was also charged with felony forgery. Each was being held in the Kosciusko County Jail on an individual $20,000 bond.