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BLOOMINGTON - A Heyworth couple knew something was wrong when they opened the package from a Dallas address and saw the handful of traveler's checks.

"I just knew it wasn't right, right off the bat," Steve Martin said.

Martin's wife, Angela, opened the package Friday and called her husband about the contents: a letter with instructions from a Nigerian resident and six $500 checks.

The letter, bearing the salutation "Dear Partner," instructed the Martins to sign the checks and cash them at a bank. The funds were to be wired via Western Union back to the Nigerian address.

In return, the couple could keep 10 percent of the cash.

According to the letter, the funds were needed to pay for "art and fabric materials."

McLean County Sheriff's Sgt. Hadley Welch said the fraudulent checks are not uncommon.

The checks sent to the Martins were described as "sophisticated" by police. Welch said the Martins' address may have been accessed through an Internet contact.

Welch cautioned the public to be suspicious of checks and requests sent from strangers with similar instructions.

"All these mailings are fraudulent and should be reported," he said.


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