FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Employed a wide range of complex schemes to defraud victims over the Internet.
On several occasions, they used business email compromises, military and romance schemes, as well as Small Business Administration loan fraud in their attempts to defraud victims, targeting a local car dealer for more than $130,000. with the intention of obtaining more than $5 million. of others.
Now, a Minnesota woman is facing federal charges here in Fort Wayne for her role in multi-person coordinated scams that may have been used across the country.
Prosecutors in the US District Court charged Kirsten M. Blackwell with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and forfeiture and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and forfeiture. Blackwell, whose age was not disclosed, faces decades in prison if convicted.
His co-conspirators have not yet been named in court documents.
Police arrested Blackwell in Minnesota this week and are holding her without bond because “she is a danger to the community and a flight risk,” according to federal court documents.
According to court documents, Blackwell established a Minnesota business called K&K Consulting in 2019 and another business called H&B Consulting in 2021.
In April 2021, an unnamed local car dealer planned to invest in technology from a golf technology company based in Denmark but with offices across the United States, according to federal court documents.
Employees of the car dealer exchanged emails with employees of the golf company in April 2021, but sometime in the middle of that month, either April 14 or 15, spoofed emails appeared that appeared to be from the golf company in the car. emails from dealership employees.
Shortly afterward, a wire transfer was made from the local car dealer to what was believed to be the golf company, investigators wrote in court documents. The total of this transfer was $132,498, according to court documents.
Instead of going to the golf company, all of these funds went to a bank account controlled by Blackwell, prosecutors said in court documents.
Blackwell is subsequently accused of using some or all of these funds to purchase cryptocurrencies located abroad, according to court documents.
A few months later, Blackwell and other members of the conspiracy network involved created “fraudulent invoices and contracts, allegedly signed by a representative of (the car dealership) and representatives of other victimized (business loan) scam companies, to make that the source of the funds for Blackwell’s cryptocurrency purchases appear as legitimate business income,” the court documents say.
It is not yet clear how far the conspiracy circle went or how many businesses were affected. It’s also not entirely clear about Blackwell’s involvement in other parts of the conspiracy ring’s scams, including romance and military schemes.
Blackwell is likely to be extradited to Indiana to face these federal charges, according to court documents.