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Two central Missouri women plead guilty to Nigerian fraud scheme

Two central Missouri women have pleaded guilty to their roles in a Nigerian fraud scheme in which thousands of victims across the country were tricked into cashing up to $3 million in counterfeit money orders and cashier’s checks.

54-year-old Lisa Kaye Barwick-Majeski and 41-year-old Cheryl Barber of St. Robert pleaded guilty to the conspiracy on February 10.

Under a plea deal, Barwick-Majeski must pay up to $3 million in restitution to her victims and must hand over $1,84,301 to the government.

Barwick-Majeski admitted she was the primary leader of a conspiracy that involved counterfeit postal money orders, counterfeit bank cashier’s checks, and numerous wires to co-conspirators in Nigeria.

Barwick-Majeski, Barber, and other associates would order counterfeit postal money orders and fake cashiers checks to thousands of victims in the U.S.

The false money orders and checks were deposited in victims’ bank accounts after the victims were duped into believing they were being paid as secret shoppers to evaluate Walmart, and other places.

The victims were told to keep $200 or more of the $2,000 fake money orders and checks, and then immediately wire the remaining money to Barwick-Majeski and her associates.

After a view days, the counterfeit money order or check would be returned against the victims’ account as non-negotiable.

The victims would then be responsible for paying their banks for most of the money they wired to these people.

Barwick-Majeski and her associates shared most of their proceeds with a group of Nigerians that were responsible for supplying them with fake postal money orders and cashier’s checks.

Barber admitted she wired funds to people in Nigeria to further the scheme.

Investigators found more than $1.7 million worth of counterfeit postal money orders.

When officers searched Barwick-Majeski’s home, they found 354 counterfeit BMO-Harris Bank cashier’s checks with a face value of more than $1 million. Officers also took $406,800 in counterfeit Missouri Credit Union cashier’s checks during the investigation.

Barwick-Majeski and Barber could face up to 20 years in prison without parole, plus a fine of up to $250,000.

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